Oh, how I wish I could see this show! Susannah Coffey was a professor at my alma mater, and I came this close > || to taking a class with her. It was Figure in the Landscape at Oxbow summer art camp, and she was to co-teach it with Dan Gustin, another great professor, but he showed, and she didn’t.
“Steve Locke wrote (from the show’s page below) that, “Coffey is painting a new kind of space… She is painting the interference, the attitudes, the obfuscations between the understanding of the self.“”
If you’re in NY, I hope you get to see the show. If you’re not, some night, indulge in a little sumpin’ and stare at her paintings online.
I’m really enjoying the essays of Robin Greenwood. This one awakened something in my brain that I think has been asleep since art school! Not sure if I agree with it all, but it’s exciting (to me) to contemplate these thoughts, as well as the rest of the essay and subsequent comments.
“What’s missing from this, what makes it a defective raison-d’être of painting, is the recognition that paint can carry more potency and meaning through its use as a designator and articulator of form and space than it can by any literal demonstration of its real-world properties. To suggest that the literal ‘materiality’ of paint – or indeed the process of applying it as a performance – is truer to painting than the fullest, richest fulfilment of its potential as an illusionistic medium is to belittle and falsify it. Such a philosophy of painting (for such it is) exhibits a failure to recognise that the meaning in abstract art is not what it is, but what it does. Herein is both enigma and illusion, since what abstract art precisely does cannot be easily described verbally (if at all, and there would be little point to it if it were otherwise), and all painting contains illusion; all good painting contains a convincing matrix of illusion. Every mark on a two-dimensional surface creates an illusionistic (re)presentation of space. With figurative painting, no problem; but how do we reconcile illusion with being abstract?”