28 July – 7 September, 2015
Peter Coffin, Untitled (Rope and Hands), 2014
bronze, 55 x 48 x 48 in.
28 July – 7 September, 2015
Robert Mapplethorpe, Female Torso, 1978
silver gelatin print, 20 x 16 in.
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.
Baldwin Gallery is proud to present our first exhibition with artist Peter Coffin. In this body of work, Coffin enumerates the lines between the human productions of knowledge, grasping for order in the chaos storm, with the innate ley lines in the world and perhaps the universe: fault tectonics, wormholes, and beetles boring their calligraphy under the bark of aspen trees. In reference, in text, in form, Coffin mines the permanent blockchain of the visual. The rope/cable bronzes in “Lines” distract and dazzle with sleight of polychrome hands, while forcibly restraining the viewer in taut Laocoon (the ‘beware of Greeks bearing gifts’ Trojan hero, destroyed by snakes with his sons: the Vatican sculpture’s focus points of restraining ropes and gesturing hands). That same Laocoon of Lessings “Laokoon oder Über die Grenzen der Malerei und Poesie” (1766): which posits that poetry and painting each has its character: the former is extended in time; the latter is extended in space. Coffin wants you to see past the learned symbols of knowledge and culture to the webs running between them: paths through space and time, beautiful or formidable in a schedule-tide that we can't live long enough, or see close enough to comprehend, witnesses to the everything we've missed in our flicker of timeline.
Peter Coffin was born in Berkeley, CA in 1972. He received his MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. Coffin has exhibited with The Smithsonian Hirshhorn, Washington DC; Storm King Sculpture Center, New Windsor, NY; Aspen Museum of Art, Aspen, CO and Herald St, London, UK and is included in the collections of: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The French National Arts Council, The Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY among others. He lives and works in New York City.
Famous for his celebrity and flower ‘portraits’, and striking, often intimate explorations of the human figure, Robert Mapplethorpe subjected all of his disparate objects to a rigorously exquisite value flattening: that a lily should be exposed as prurient, and shocking ‘deviance’ be revealed in classical elegance. And always, perhaps most recognizable, the exquisitely pure surface of the photographs themselves; Mapplethorpe’s mastery of lighting, grain, and depth of field all focus the viewer to the formal beauty and the intrinsic integrity of each object. Born in the rapidly changing post-war 1946, Mapplethorpe spent his childhood on Long Island, and he received a B.F.A. from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Robert Mapplethorpe died of AIDS in 1989 at the age of 42.
Images are available upon request. Please call 970.920.9797 for further information.