Painter Kevin Coogan’s New Work at Wildflowers Too

By PAT JOHNSON | Jul 17, 2019
Artwork by: Kevin Coogan ‘Wave 3’ by Kevin Coogan is at the Wildflowers Too gallery in Barnegat Light.

Barnegat Light, NJ — Wildflowers Too in Barnegat Light is debuting a new collection by Long Beach Island artist Kevin Coogan on July 21. “Windings of the Sea” has many of the hallmarks of his earlier work – it is bold, his canvases are large, and the work is strong, colorful and alive.

But this work is also different, according to gallery owner and longtime friend Cricket Luker. “This entire collection reflects a new level of expression, of depth and complexity and power,” she said.

These paintings are the result of a year-long process of putting himself, his experience, his emotions and his deepest feelings onto seven individual canvases. “It was a conscious process, a daunting one that was, in the end, deeply fulfilling,” said Coogan.

When he began a year ago, it was clear to him that this series was important, a series dealing with mortality and the infinite.

“It was a deep dive for him – the result is stunning,” said Luker.

“Windings of the Sea” comes from the second stanza of Dylan Thomas’s poem “And Death Shall Have No Dominion.” Coogan worked on these paintings with that in mind – the mortality of those he has loved who have died, his own mortality. As he said, “I am in the final quarter of my life. I have no plans to finish out this life any time soon, but it would be foolish not to recognize and ponder that my life will end.”

He also reflects on mortality frequently in daily life as a practicing veterinarian. Being witness to the one single moment when an animal’s life ends and helping family members deal with the loss are emotionally intense and profound for him. He has been doing this for a very long time.

“With this cloud of consciousness above me, I began to ponder my own mortality and to bring those explorations to these paintings.”

Ironically, when one embarks upon this kind of reflection on mortality, the current moment is brought into sharp focus – you feel very alive, very present. And it is that aliveness and energy that are reflected in this new work, said Maggie Roedema, gallery manager.

The subject matter of all seven pieces is the same – the ocean and the sky. Yet each is different in feeling and experience. One painting in pastel colors is serene, noted Roedema. “It has an ethereal quality that is almost hypnotic,” she said. “There is another that captures the gentle, easy flow of a smooth wave that conveys peace and certainty. Then there are others that embody the power and undeniable strength, chaos, upheavals that come with sudden storms. And no matter what the energy is in the foreground of the painting, where the ocean meets the sky, there is always calm.

“This new work makes the ocean and sky a mirror for the ever-changing experience of life – its beauty, its energy, its turmoil, its perfection. And it invites us to take it all in and embrace it exactly as it is,” she said.

Coogan has been painting for over 35 years. He began his formal training at the University of Delaware and also studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., and George Washington University. For 10 years, he was mentored by Ed Loper Sr., one of Delaware’s most celebrated artists. The bottom line is this:  Kevin Coogan is a dedicated, studied, skillful and serious painter, deeply devoted to creating art.

The entire “Windings of the Sea” collection will be on display at Wildflowers Too starting Sunday, July 21; meet the artist on July 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wildflowers Too is located at 506 Broadway. For more information, call 609-361-1101.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.