Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art Galleries are pleased to present Learning to Love the Species, an exhibition of works by Atlanta-based artist Susan Seydel Cofer. This exhibition at Broad Street Gallery introduces, for the first time under one roof, the portraits of some of the most prominent figures from Atlanta’s cultural, creative and intellectual circles. This exhibition will be on view now through May 16, with an opening reception with the artist Saturday, April 12 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
This exhibition also offers special programming. On Thursday, April 17, Cofer will hold an artist’s talk at the Broad Street Gallery in which she addresses the methods and motivations behind her making, as well as portraiture’s place in contemporary art.
A desire and an uncanny ability to inhabit many worlds is marked in Cofer’s portraiture and infused in her process, yielding for each subject a likeness that is both visually and conceptually apropos. In this exhibition, we find likenesses of art patrons Elliott and Harriet Goldstein, art critic and writer Jerry Cullum, New York Review editor Bob Silvers, and novelist V.S. Naipaul, among many others. Fully engaging each of her subjects in an attempt to “love the species,” Cofer reads books from their libraries, interviews their closest friends and family, and even in one instance commissions tiny, model-sized works of art by a subject’s favorite artists to accompany a sculptural portrait. All the while, Cofer’s sophisticated and porous process is in fact belied by her humble choice in primary material, a self-derived process of papier-mâché and found objects. At Cofer’s hands, this simple concoction of paste and water is the very substance of life.
Negotiating identity and representation, being and subject, Cofer succeeds in portraying even the subtle complexities of each person, their belongings and indeed their world.
Learning to Love the Species gives audiences the opportunity to view even well-known and thoroughly documented lives and persons anew.
Cofer is based in Atlanta and represented by Solomon Projects. Following a degree in art history from Hollins College in Roanoke, Va., Cofer studied at Georgia State University, and has been practicing art since the 1970s. Cofer’s work has been exhibited in prominent museums and galleries throughout the United States including the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C., the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Heath Gallery in Atlanta. Cofer’s work is in the permanent collections of the High Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia and important private collections around the country and abroad.
All Broad Street Gallery events are free and open to the public. The Broad Street Gallery is located at the Broad Street Studios Complex, at 257 West Broad Street in Athens, Ga. Broad Street Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For further information, see www.art.uga.edu.