Terrence Coffman

Terrence Coffman

My paintings are often called abstractions, they are not. They are the non-objective landscapes of my inner being, my attempt to move into a greater reality. Bodidharma, the bringer of Zen to China from India said, "Using the mind to look for reality is delusion. Not using the mind to look for reality is awareness. Freeing oneself from words is liberation.

I tend to work in series. Often a theme or direction evolves from another series or it will come about as a reference to a personal experience. I look at my approach to painting as opening myself to forces of creativity that are caught rather than conceived by me. I'm a conduit of sorts. I don't stand before a subject and copy it. I breath it in, consume it and let it flow through of me onto canvas.


-Terrence Coffman

Terry Coffman has been a dynamic force in Wisconsin’s art culture as an artist, college and art center administrator, author, actor, musician, and educator. He joined Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design as its president in 1983 and for twenty years he guided MIAD as it grew to become one of the nation’s leading art schools. As an artist, Terry has painted in various media and styles and is best known for his fluid, dynamic, and colorful large abstractions reflecting a rediscovery of his roots and interest in abstract expressionism. As a singer/songwriter, he has performed at nightclubs and music venues across the country and has recorded several albums of traditional and contemporary acoustic songs.

Besides teaching at MIAD he taught at the Lacoste School of Art, in Provence, France; Maryland College of Art and Design where he was also its administrator; the Smithsonian Institute Associate Program in Washington DC, and was also an artist in residence at the Burren College of Art in County Clare Ireland. He has taught many students in classes at his studio and workshops, and has always been an inspirational speaker in support of the arts. His works hang in many dozens of public and private collections around the US. He has served on innumerable public panels and as exhibition juror for decades.

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