Petah Coyne possesses a unique ability to transform objects of everyday life into poetic art. Combining both figurative and abstract traditions and using a diverse range of materials, her sculptures constitute a complex language that speaks to the contradictions of human experience and the beauty of life and death. Coyne has persistently transformed spaces into wonderful environments in which her sculptures interact within the context, with one another, and with the viewer in ways that are not only engaging, but also unforgettable.
Coyne's work first came to public attention in the fall of 1987 and, through the years, she has constantly challenged herself to engage with varied spaces and experiment with new media. This traveling survey exhibition tracked the continuous and surprising evolution of Coyne's work during the last 18 years and encompassed all phases of her development, including a selection of her organic concretions from the late 1980s; metallic black sand works, wax chandeliers, and intricate hair weavings from the early 1990s; figure-based wax personages from the early 2000s; and a suite of eight large-format photographs from 1992 to 2001.
This exhibition was organized by Senior Curator Douglas Dreishpoon.
In conjunction with this exhibition, Coyne gave an artist talk at the museum on June 8, 2006.