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Jack Coughlin: Themes and Variations

August 10 - November 6, 2022

Read about Jack Coughlin and

this retrospective exhibition in the

Jack Coughlin: Themes and Variations is a retrospective exhibition that looks closely at over 60 years

of Jack Coughlin’s artwork across various mediums. In drawing, printmaking, watercolor and sculpture, Coughlin has returned to several themes that are treated in depth in this show: portraiture, animals, the human figure, and states of metamorphosis and the grotesque. This exhibition draws from works in the Coughlin family’s collection and was curated by his daughter, Maura Coughlin.

Throughout his career, working from life and teaching life drawing have informed his representations of the human figure. Wild animals, especially owls, rhinos and elephants have been sources of endless fascination across mediums. In his most imaginative work, human and animal figures merge in metamorphic, hybrid, sometimes humorous forms that call on both surrealist dream worlds and old master compositions.

Jack Coughlin was born in 1932 in Greenwich Connecticut, grew up on the South Coast of Massachusetts and studied printmaking and illustration at the Art Students League in New York and the Rhode Island School of Design. Before retiring in 1994, he was Professor of drawing and printmaking for over 30 years in the Fine Arts Department of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Wellfleet has been his seasonal home since the late 1950s, where he and his wife, the painter Joan Hopkins Coughlin showed their artwork every summer. He has been recognized internationally for his skill in printmaking, particularly in woodcut and etching. His artwork is held in the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other museum, university and library collections. Coughlin is a full member of the Society of American Graphic Artists and is an Associate Member of the National Academy of Design, New York.

Jack was the 2021 recipient of the Cape Cod Museum of Art’s Artist Muse Award.

Maura Coughlin is the daughter of Jack Coughlin and Joan Hopkins Coughlin. She holds a PhD in the History of Art from New York University and is Teaching Professor in the Department of Art + Design at Northeastern University in Boston. Her recent research and publications concern French Atlantic visual culture, coastal ecologies and the rise of marine sciences in France. She lives year-round in Eastham and at present is co-curating an exhibition, called “A singularly marine & fabulous produce: the Cultures of seaweed,” for the summer of 2023 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.


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