Pluralism. Underscored. Coughlin’s motivations may have become refined as he investigated Victorian decadence and found resonance in the commitment of handwork upheld by the Arts and Crafts Movement. But, he saw parallels on either side of the globe, and pared down decadent ornamentation to indulge in the specific techniques found in the East and West. He says, “My work is both elegy and ballad, aiming to depict the hidden beauty and value in the knowledge of process, and the joy of committing it. The act of making becomes a performance of my own heritage; working with dirt, tool and sweat of brow.”
An artist and educator currently working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Coughlin lived and worked in Jingdezhen, the ceramic center of China, in 2010 and 2011. As an assistant in the design studio, he worked with local craftsmen in the production of ceramic design goods for a global market, while also assisting in the management of the Education Center, facilitating international exchange and instruction. As a third generation onion farmer from Upstate New York, Coughlin has always had a fascination with a society’s fruits of labor and their relation to material culture. Coughlin’s studio practice incorporates a wide spectrum of craft and design practices. He has exhibited work in China, Italy, and throughout the United States.
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