Drea E. Cofield

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What is my work about?

How allegory can be carried through color, form, and composition. There is a thematic doubling, a rubbing of color, a historical arch, and an expressive vertical zip that is recurrent in my work. I use painting and drawing to find a merger between observation and imagination, reference and invention. I’ve spent hundreds of hours looking at my front yard and imagining all the shrubs, trees, and branches transforming into a Scene of the Deposition. I paint a bush with a wound, a snake that’s a spine, trees with nipples. These absurd juxtapositions of iconography, observational painting, and improvisational methods is at the heart of my work at present.


Artist Statement

My paintings & drawings are about an ecstatic play between color, line, allegory & abstraction. I am a storyteller. My stage is the domestic yard, my characters are fools, and the drama comes from my own experience as I move through and absorb the world.

I am seeking to find the erotic merger between body and mind, looking and imagination. Through obsessive repetition and observation, improvisation is aimed to circumvent the friction between the aforementioned dualities, thus revealing the absurd.

My work is not planned and is at times (especially with the drawings) ripped from my subconscious even as my hand follows the arches and zips prevalent throughout the history of painting. The immediacy of the mark of my hand as it relates to my mood and eyes can be seen as a branch becomes a finger which caresses a body that gouges the sky who then bleeds to the ground.

The work I am submitting for this application consists of paintings, drawings, and a mural. The range in scale from intimate to looming is important as every composition was improvised and shows the same mannered color, stacking of forms, and my development and exploration of varying languages of figuration and abstraction. Whether I am drawing with colored-pencils on copy-sized paper or rolling paint onto a stucco wall from the bucket of a boom lift, it’s the same desperate, feverish need to say something, to touch someone, to create a world.

I quickly learned to think in stories as a child. My experience of the world was meditated, in a very religious household, both indirectly by the abstractions of allegory & myth; and directly by the guilt & shame of being a human of dual natures. As such, I’ve developed the need, the obsession to create veiled narratives and allegories with no moral. To simultaneously yearn for and obscure the meaning and location of my desires, of my needs, of my emotions. A game I believe most humans can relate to.

I’ve recently been focusing intently and with devotional purpose on The Stages of my rebellious, erotic, and referential world: the landscape. More specifically, however, I mean the domestic symbiotically discordant space of the yard or lawn. It is a manicured plot that both delineates property and attempts to express personality and an echo of nature. For me, growing up in the Midwestern United States, it is where all of my adolescent experiences and fantasies played out. The Lawn is a controlled and uncanny space. It’s a release from the dogma of the house itself, but still contained, a faux-freedom that parallels the creation of worlds through painting.

Yale University, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT. MFA in Painting & Printmaking

DePauw University, Greencastle, IN. BA Cum Laude

Kansai Gaidai University. Osaka, Japan. Concentration in East Asian Studies.

Between the Lines. Forthcoming Group Exhibition. Anahita Gallery. Tehran, Iran.

Seduction. Group Exhibition. C.C.C.P. North Light Gallery. Brooklyn, NY.
We Had Lunch Together. Solo Exhibition. Aisling Gallery at The Study. New Haven, CT
Painting & Printmaking Thesis Exhibition. Yale School of Art. New Haven, CT

Second-Year MFA Painting Exhibition. Yale School of Art. New Haven, CT
Video Screening Curated by Meredith James & Michel Auder. New York City, NY.

First-Year MFA Painting Exhibition. Yale School of Art. New Haven, CT.
Figuratively Speaking. Group Exhibition. Twenty-Two Gallery. Charlotte, NC.

Solo Exhibition. Whiskey Warehouse. Charlotte, NC.
The Hot Ones Only Get Hotter. Group Exhibition. Rogue Elefant Gallery. Indianapolis, IN

Fetish. Duo Exhibition. The Low Road Gallery. Greencastle, IN
Group Exhibition. International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture, Montecastello, Italy

Senior Show 2008. Group Exhibition. Richard E. Peeler Art Center. DePauw University. Greencastle, IN.
The Mirror. Solo Exhibition. Richard E. Peeler Art Center. DePauw University. Greencastle, IN.


2012 Yale School of Art, Gloucester Painting Prize

2011 The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant

2009 National Society of Arts & Letters, Naomi Winston Scholarship

2008 Fifth-Year Intern Honor Program. DePauw University Art Department. Greencastle, IN .

Fritz-Smith Memorial Award. DePauw University Acquisition. Greencastle, IN