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Born 1953, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Lives and works in New York

Petah Coyne is a contemporary sculptor and photographer best known for her large-scale hanging sculptures and floor installations. Working in innovative and disparate materials, her media has ranged from the organic to the ephemeral. Dead fish, mud, sticks, hay, black sand, specially-formulated and patented wax, satin ribbons, silk flowers, shaved cars, and shredded trailers are a few of the things she has incorporated into her sculptures. More recently, she has worked with glass, velvet, taxidermy, cast wax statuary, and trees. Unafraid to confront a range of subjects or tackle contemporary themes, Coyne’s innate dualities are transposed in the dichotomous themes of her work: transformation and constancy; life and loss; beauty and darkness. In a 2019 New York Times article by Hilarie Sheets, Amy Gilman, director at the Chazen Museum of Art adeptly describes Coyne’s sculptures as “evocative in the way that great literature stays with you… Petah’s work exposes private things without being explicit, these deep wells of memory and meaning and relationship.”

Throughout her oeuvre Coyne has derived inspiration, as with her media, from diverse sources—from literature and film, world culture and the natural environment, to the artist’s own personal biography. Notably celebrated are under-recognized female authors and Eastern literary figures. Untitled #1379 (The Doctor’s Wife), 1997-2018, the centerpiece of Coyne’s 2018 solo exhibition in Having Gone I Will Return at Galerie Lelong & Co., New York, is titled after Sawako Ariyoshi’s novel of the same name. At 16 x 8 x 8 feet, this imposing installation piece is a mass of whorled folds of endless hand-sewn velvet, of inky blues, blacks, and teal. Most recently, Coyne has created Color of Heaven for the exhibition CRAZY: Madness in Contemporary Art at Chiostro del Bramante. This new body of work features nine hanging wax sculptures, all named after notable women, particularly artists and writers. In contrast with her large-scale black and white works, those featured in Color of Heaven are smaller in scale, and from underneath, they are brightly-colored. These works will be part of a much larger installation at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, slated to open in 2023.

Coyne’s work is in numerous permanent museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Denver Art Museum, Denver; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Finland; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada; Museum of Contemporary Art of Montreal, Canada. 

Select awards include the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Award, The Rockefeller Foundation Award, three National Endowment for the Arts Awards, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award, The Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, Asian Cultural Council Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Award, Anonymous Was A Woman Award, Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial Foundation Award, Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities Awards, the Art Matters Award, three Artists Space Awards, two International Association of Art Critics Awards, and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art Award in the Visual Arts.
Coyne has been reviewed by Aperture Magazine, Art in America, Artdaily, Artforum, Artnet, ARTnews Magazine, Artspace, Blouin Artinfo, BOMB Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, ELLE Italia, ELLE Taiwan, Frieze, Hyperallergic, Interior Design, Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, Newsday, Sculpture, Tema Celeste, The Boston Globe, The Brooklyn Rail, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The San Francisco Examiner, The Times (London), The Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, Village Voice, Vogue Magazine, and the Washington Post.

Born in Oklahoma City in 1953, Coyne currently lives in New York and is represented by Galerie Lelong & Co., New York; and Nunu Fine Art, Taiwan.


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