Oberlin College and Conservatory

The Contemporary Portrait: Artist Lecture with Susanna Coffey

Monday, April 29, 2019 at 4:45pm

Clarence Ward ’37 Art Building, 103
87 North Main Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

Please join the art department and painter Susanna Coffey for an artist lecture. 

Coffey is the F.H. Sellers Professor in Painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her portraits are investigations of the iconic human head. The work is driven by questions about what a portrait image can mean. What is a beautiful appearance? Why do conventionally gendered images involve caricature? Can inchoate feeling-states be adequately portrayed?
Meticulously observed, most works show her in many guises and locations: under dramatic lighting, highly costumed, inside a studio, within landscapes, foliage, places of fiery devastation, and amidst phantasmagoric patterns. Some portraits seem almost entirely abstract with only the barest suggestion of a human face.

Coffey’s artwork has been exhibited in the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the Aldrich Museum, the Hood Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and others. Her work is included in the collections of the Yale University Art Gallery, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Minneapolis Museum of Art and others.

Among her awards are the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award.

Coffey‘s work is represented by Steven Harvey Fine Arts Projects in New York City, Alpha Gallery in Boston and Galeria Isabel Ignacio in Seville, Spain. She lives and works in New York City.

This event is presented with support from the Ellen H. Johnson Endowment for Modern and Contemporary Art.

Event Type

Arts, Lectures/Symposia/Workshops


Academic, Art


Free to the public

Photo Alternate Text

Flag, oil on panel, 12 x 15 inches, 2003; man donning red striped shirt

Contact Person

Sarah Schuster

Contact Phone Number


Contact E-mail Address


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