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Self-portrait at Atrium Gallery through Nov. 14 (Released: 10/22/97)

by Sherry Fisher, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. — Susanna Coffey stares directly at us through the windows of her paintings. Her self-portraits are raw and mysterious.

Coffey's "Self-Portrait Paintings", oil paintings and monotype prints, are on display at the University of Connecticut’s Atrium Gallery in the Fine Arts Building through Nov. 14.

Coffey will present a slide lecture on her work Nov. 5 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 107 of the Fine Arts Building.

Coffey has been painting self-portraits before a mirror for several years. "Each time we look at ourselves, we see someone different," she says. "Anyone can be an infinite number of persons."

Sal Scalora, director of the Atrium Gallery says, "Her heads are always smaller than life size, usually cropped at the chin, and locked in a straight ahead glance with the viewer. Yet the mystery of her portraits is that they seem so utterly raw, unflattering, as if Susanna’s face was surgically reconstructed after a terrible car accident. This hard-won survival appears to be her greatest strength in these revealing portraits."

Coffey received her BFA from the University of Connecticut in 1977 and her MFA from Yale in 1982.

She received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1993, and in 1994 she received an Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Coffey has had solo exhibitions at galleries including the Tabor de Nagy Gallery in New York, the Bangs Street Gallery in Provincetown and the Lyons Weir Gallery in Chicago. Her work has also appeared in many group exhibitions including Exit Art/The First World, New York; Evanston Art Center, Evanston, Illinois; and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York.

Coffey’s work is held in collections at The William and Uytendale Scott Memorial Study Collection at the Mariam Coffin Canaday Library at Bryn Mawr College, the Catherine T. and John D. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, and the Minneapolis Museum of Art.

The Atrium Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.