Ivan's interest in the countryside is deeply rooted in his childhood experience of growing up divided between London and the countryside - on farms, building sites and caravans (due to his parents' separation). Through the series, Coleman has explored his own identity and sense of belonging; in a geographical sense, but also in terms of social class: those raised in the countryside often face an automatic assumption of belonging to the higher echelons of society but for Ivan, this wasn’t the case. The contrast here has been a source of fascination for the artist, resulting in an attempt at capturing the relationship between different communities and their perceptions of one another.
In Country was partially conceived as a series of “postcards” from an unrecognisable, detached world, impossible to pin on a map. Just as the changes in the world economy have forced those living off the land to diversify and invent ever more novel ways of making a living, the English country traditions, as captured by Ivan, cross over into an almost magical sphere. The sheer beauty of his Constable-esque landscapes and the seemingly anachronistic ritual contained within them, evokes fascination, disbelief and a universal quality.
Coleman works as a commercial photographer and is also currently head of Photography in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College.