ROOM OF HER OWN
October 5th 2017 - January 28th 2018
Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, Conneticut
In Room of Her Own - Ballad of Ruth Coxe contemporary photographer Pola Esther presents a portrait of Ruth Anne Brown Coxe of Old Lyme in an exhibition of photographs and installation elements.
A complex and unconventional person, Coxe, who died at age 85 in 2015, was an embattled figure who clashed with others on politics, womanhood, and religion. Carrying hand-lettered signs or displaying them in her front yard, Coxe sought attention for her legal battle to retain the 18th-century homestead and farm she occupied with her two sons in Old Lyme following the death of her husband, Constitutional lawyer Samuel H. Coxe III, in 1981. Advocating for a return to America's agricultural roots, she promoted organic farming and opposed government actions that would affect the town's rural character. Her protests, as well as her homemade bread and produce, became fixtures of town life.
Beginning in 2013 Esther, Coxe's neighbor, photographed her in the cluttered environment of her home, drawing visual parallels between the house and the personality of its occupant. Esther's gallery installation will juxtapose her photographs with photo collages of Coxe’s memorabilia, protest signs, clothes, and even physical elements from the Coxe house.
Born in Lodz, Poland, Esther studied and worked in theater before taking up photography as her primary means of artistic expression. Building on her background in theater, Esther infuses her images with drama and narrative tension. Based in Old Lyme and New York, Esther has exhibited her work internationally in Poland, France, Bulgaria, and Germany. Her photographs have appeared in numerous publications.