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 Donald Coen  (1935 - )

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Lived/Active: Colorado      Known for: animal, ranch genre, abstraction

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Donald Coen
from Auction House Records.
Crop Duster
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Donald Wayne Coen grew up in Lamar, Colorado, and he presently teaches art in Boulder.  He has exhibited widely in Colorado and at the 99th Annual National American Watercolor Society show and Watercolor, USA in Springfield, Missouri.  He calls his work "interpretive landscapes", basing paintings on forms in nature.

In his latest show, Coen goes beyond visible nature to the far reaches of the university, unseen yet even by astronauts and earth satellites.

Using mostly acrylic and sometimes watercolor, Coen brings to his celestial theme a skill resembling modern Japanese artists who can capture nature's essence in what at first appears to be total abstraction.

Submitted by Katherine Tozier

Source: "Roundup" section of the Denver Post Newspaper, 10/19/69

Biography from Valley Fine Art:
To celebrate rural America without a trace of western art cliche is a challenging and lifelong pursuit for any artist.  Don Coen has spent his lifetime capturing the sometimes quiet, yet always insistent character of the rural west through large scale and somewhat photo realistic acrylic paintings that for some viewers provide a mesmerizing, dynamic portrayal of the commonplace.

Coen's Lamar Series of fifteen oversize canvases and named for Lamar, Colorado, chronicle every day rural America.  His subjects include farm fields and grain feeders conveyed through many levels of personalities, both bullish and passive, bored and content, always expressing the complex dualities that characterize the West.

As his subjects convey dualities of both character and place, Coen’s technique highlights the complexity of his topic. V iewed from a distance, the paintings in the Lamar Series, can evoke familiarity and childhood memories of animals and farming.  Yet, up close, the canvases are a mixture of coarse textures, blurred subjects, pencil lines, layers of paint, and pure white canvas.  This duality, clarity from afar juxtaposed with a chaotic and luminous beauty parallels the dynamism of rural American that Don Coen chooses to capture.

Until recently, Donald Coen has focused on documenting images from his life in Lamar, Colorado.  These paintings chronicling farm life are now evolving in Coen's work as America’s agricultural traditions are also changing.

As an extensive and appropriate evolution from the Lamar Series, Coen is now working on a new series of large-scale canvases of migrant workers with the intention of capturing the lives and spirit of America’s contemporary migrants.  An early morning encounter in 1992 with migrant workers sacking onions in Northern Colorado was the catalyst leading Coen to begin this new series of paintings.

With the Migrant Series, Coen’s goal is to raise the consciousness of America to this very overlooked yet vital part of our society, and for the first time give America’s contemporary migrant workers an identity through his paintings.  Like the Lamar Series, this new work portrays the dualities of the spirits and worlds we often drive by or do not care to notice.  Capturing the essence of rural America, migratory labor and the human spirit he has found, Coen hopes with his work to inspire viewers to notice, to respond and to care about the commonplace.

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