Allyson Burke Coffren
Art is personal and it is no exception with my work. Every painting I do is a reflection of my life and my family. If there is a calf in the painting, guaranteed it is supposed to represent one of my children.
I was born and raised in northern Kentucky. I graduated magna cum laude from Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, and afterwards worked for the school's Exhibitions department. I then moved to Charlotte, NC and worked for the Bechtler Museum of Modern art, first as its Collections Assistant and then as the Exhibitions Manager. There in Charlotte I met and married my husband and we had our first daughter. Soon after becoming pregnant with our second child we moved to New Orleans, LA where I started painting full-time. We now live in the greater Cincinnati area and couldn't be happier.
My father is from Texas, so for a birthday I painted him a long horn in a field of blue bonnets and enjoyed it so much I have been bovine since. At first, it was just cattle. I still don’t fully understand why I like them so much, but their complex nature is fascinating. A cow can be a cow, or transform to an ethereal beast of the plain you see yourself through. So, after painting my first 12 or so I did very belated research. I learned they where part of a greater species, Bovinae, which includes bison and buffalo, and those also belong to the larger Bovine that includes yaks, water buffalos, four horned antelopes and more. All of which have a strong presence about them.
Bovine can be a symbol of gentle nature while simultaneously symbolize strength and quiet power. In my personal symbology, every cow contains multiple cows. In many ways my art is about finding their voice, and of course the joy I get from painting them.