More than simply hybrids or blends of modernism, surrealism or conceptual art, Coughlan’s work moves beyond tribute iconography or sardonic homage to dated art fashion trends by tapping his existing surroundings in Los Angeles and own mortality. Lost desert landscapes unfold with new meaning when the literal translation of content or glorified remembrance of a specific art style is emptied out, jiggled up and poured back in.
Before painting or working with pastels begins, Coughlan’s drawings develop through a type of self- exploratory automatic writing. The pen on paper images then serve as model sketches for pastels, and later his paintings. Never incognizant of the medium being used or how to attempt the subversion of its conventions, Coughlan always shows regard for the particular qualities of a medium by occupying a position or representing a condition midway between the extremes of its differences and similarities to other mediums. His streams of intentionally melancholic distractions then filter through an idiosyncratic perception of the absurd to emerge as uniquely ordered, humorous and perfectly correct sense-giving strategies. For the viewer, the results become something more experiential and sometimes even inspirational.
Michael Coughlan’s solo exhibitions have been seen in Europe, Los Angeles and New York. He earned an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1991 and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design for Painting in 1988. He is the recipient of a Pollack-Krasner Foundation grant (1996) and was a recent resident artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Michael Coughlan have several times exhibited in Stalke Galleri from 1999