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Gordon Art Galleries: "Transit: The Art of Revelation in the Paintings of Susanna Coffey"

By Ramona Austin

Old Dominion University's Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries are showing Transit: The Art of Revelation in the Painting of Susanna Coffey.

Transit, an exhibition of 23 paintings and a book of woodcut prints dating to the late 1980s, will be on view through Nov. 19 at the galleries, at 4509 Monarch Way. A reception including refreshments and a cash bar will be held on Friday, October 20, from 7 to 9 p.m. The artist, Susanna Coffey, will be attending. The reception also will celebrate the opening of the exhibition The Art of Trains, featuring the collection of Susan and David Goode.

Coffey is the F.H. Sellers Professor in Painting at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and is also an adjunct graduate adviser at the Columbia University School of the Arts in New York, where she works and lives.

Her work appears in the collections of the Yale University Art Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among other institutions. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency Program.

Coffey is widely recognized as an extraordinary painter of the human head, with portraits ranging in size from a few inches to 10 feet. Her latest pictures include dense fields of color in which her head is submerged while struggling to reemerge.

Coffey believes that "before we all know how to use language, we ALL 'talk' to ourselves. That private language is a touchstone, a door to artistic and intellectual freedom. Its purpose is to 'sing a world into being and summon visions as yet unseen.'"

The Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries exhibit works by nationally and internationally recognized self-taught artists, contemporary artists working in all media, and local and regional artists connected with Old Dominion University. Free and open to the public, with parking in the 45th Street garage. Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. For more information, contact Senior Curator Ramona Austin at (757) 683-6272 or raustin@odu.edu.

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