Curated Artist Registry

The White Columns Curated Artist Registry is an online catalog of digital images documenting the work of artists who are not affiliated with a commercial gallery in New York City. Each submission is reviewed by our curatorial staff; in order to be considered for the registry, one must submit work digitally via this website.

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Michael Coughlan
Los Angeles CA US
Updated: 2017-06-06 13:43:03


Through a pared down approach I arrange words, objects and images with deadpan humor, playing upon themes of morbidity, time, transcendence, and the nature of interpretation. Surrounding these themes are a deep-seated skepticism, and a desire to see the simultaneous build up and unraveling of meaning.

I develop my imagery from pen on paper drawings arrived at through a type of automatic writing, which may explain their somewhat self-exploratory character. These forms are then worked into pastels, and later into paintings. At each stage there is a respect for the particular qualities of the medium used, as well as an attempt to subvert and further its conventions. To this end the manner in which the paintings and drawings are made; brushstroke, hand, line quality and spatial considerations, are as important as the imagery used and are often inseparable from that imagery.

In my work I often use the codes of modernist picture making, emphasizing those of surrealism, sixties conceptual art and minimalism. These codes are then adulterated and twisted through my use of pop cultural iconography, illustrative style, and my own subjectivity. These works further trope the codes of modernism by incorporating aspects of my surroundings in Los Angeles, such as the light, abandoned desert landscapes, and the detritus that fills them in a personalized manner. While the work may touch on aspects of the aforementioned art movements, it is not my intention to create a pastiche or to directly quote any particular artwork or style. Rather these conventions and my twisting of them represent a repertoire of strategies, to be borrowed from at will, as they are filtered through my own idiosyncratic sensibilities. Through this they are as much an attempt to open up an un-codified space within these traditions, as they are an attempt to open up space within subjective consciousness.

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