Susanna Coffey

American, born 1949

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Susanna Coffey

American, born 1949

Biography

For three decades, painter Susanna Coffey has used her own image as a conduit through which to explore ideas of identity and the body’s relationship to politics and spirituality. Working with a mirror hung directly above her palette, she paints herself confronting the viewer, positioned squarely at center on the canvas. She began exploring self-portraiture as a way to teach herself painting, and quickly realized connections between her work and West African figure sculpture and mask-making traditions. In addition to her self-portraits, Coffey, a professor of painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, also paints flowers and loose, nighttime landscapes, which she creates en plein air, working from direct observation.

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Included in a major biennial
Gwangju Biennale
Biography

For three decades, painter Susanna Coffey has used her own image as a conduit through which to explore ideas of identity and the body’s relationship to politics and spirituality. Working with a mirror hung directly above her palette, she paints herself confronting the viewer, positioned squarely at center on the canvas. She began exploring self-portraiture as a way to teach herself painting, and quickly realized connections between her work and West African figure sculpture and mask-making traditions. In addition to her self-portraits, Coffey, a professor of painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, also paints flowers and loose, nighttime landscapes, which she creates en plein air, working from direct observation.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
fair
Included in a major biennial
Gwangju Biennale