Ryan Findley

Home is where the heart is

By - Jun 24th, 2010 04:00 am
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“Five Boats at Harbor”

Exploring the idea of “home” in a new series of paintings on view at the Tory Folliard Gallery, Marion Coffey has transformed Milwaukee from the temperate Midwestern city we all know and love into a brightly colored, almost tropical paradise.

In still life and also landscapes of iconic Milwaukee scenes (the Calatrava, the Milwaukee River) , Coffey works in a color palette not seen in this part of the world. Riotous washes of persimmon, cobalt, lime and tangerine highlight our fair city’s landmarks, lighting them up in ways unimaginable.

Coffey’s rough outlines lack detail, but allow the color to take center stage, drawing one’s eye from point to point in a veritable frenzy.

In “Five Boats at Harbor,” the suggestion of five boats with their sails still furled in impossible colors sit against a blue so deep that one hardly believes it’s supposed to represent Lake Michigan.

Coffey’s still life paintings showcase this playful use of color even more forcefully. In “Pear Still Life,” pears and apples mottled in crazy shades of deep purple and canary  sit in front of a wall that is such a bright, vibrant shade of lilac it’s almost headache-inducing.

“Marina Vista”

All of these pieces are done in acrylic (which accounts for the supernatural brightness of the colors) on handmade paper. The texture of the paper lends itself to Coffey’s broad brush strokes. The paper itself creates detail work in the paint because of it’s unevenness. The ragged edges of the handmade paper complement the rough shapes of her work and the easy, casual approach she takes to her subjects.

Marion Coffey’s HOME will be on view at the Tory Folliard Gallery, 233 N. Milwaukee Street, through July 10. All photos are courtesy of Tory Folliard Gallery.

Categories: Art

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