Atlanta artist invites viewers to "draw near"

Nearly one hundred of Susan Cofer's abstract drawings are currently on display at the High Museum of Art in Midtown Atlanta

Staff Report

The High Museum of Art is currently presenting the first career survey of drawings by Atlanta-based artist Susan Cofer. For more than three decades, the longtime Buckhead resident has been recognized in the Southeast for her painstakingly delicate, abstract drawings.

Susan Cofer: Draw Near features nearly one hundred drawings dating from 1975 to the present day. The exhibition opened on Oct. 27, 2012 and will run through Jan. 27, 2013.

Susan Cofer works with colored pencils in a labor-intensive process, slowly "carving" away the white surface of a sheet of paper with short, vertical strokes. Images inspired by nature often emerge from the resulting network of pencil lines, evoking organisms in embryonic stages of development that themselves suggest self-contained microcosms. 

More recently, Cofer's work is based upon wide-open panoramic landscapes and topographies, representing an exploration of the macrocosmic and suggesting the mapping of places and terrain.

The exhibition also includes a selection of sketchbooks from Cofer's travels in the Middle East, sculptural objects, and drawing tables adorned with relief carvings that are based on the natural forms in her drawings. Cofer designed the tables to offer a more intimate experience of her work, amplifying the effect of the drawings, whose delicate and highly detailed surfaces beg for close scrutiny, inviting the viewer to literally "draw near."

Hear more from the artist in the video accompanying this article.


Susan Cofer received her bachelor’s degree in Art History at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia in 1964 and went on to do postgraduate work in studio art at Georgia State University in 1970.

Prior to Draw Near, Cofer’s solo exhibitions have included:

  • 2010                Lines of Impulse and Deliberation: Drawings by Susan Cofer, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Gallery 307, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, September 15–December 15
  • Absence of Certainty, Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta, Georgia, April 24–July 3
  • 2008                Learning to Love the Species, Broad Street Gallery, Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, April 10–May 16
  • 2007                Susan Cofer, Solomon Projects, Atlanta, Georgia, March 8–April 14
  • Reunion 2007: Susan Cofer ʼ64, the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia, June 1–September 7
  • 2005                Self-Portrait, Rome Area Council for the Arts, Berry College, Rome, Georgia, through October 7
  • 2002                Variations on a Composition, Solomon Projects, Atlanta, Georgia, December 12, 2002–February 1, 2003
  • 1998                Forms: Inside, Outside, Moon Gallery, Berry College, Mount Berry, Georgia
  • 1997                Drawings: 1992–1997, Swan Coach House Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1993                Drawings 1973–1993, Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, Madison, Georgia
  •                         Personages in Small Scale, Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia, through September 10 
  • 1992                Drawing from Experience, Swan Coach House Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia, September 3–October 3
  • 1989                Susan Cofer: Site Specific Environment, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • 1986                Susan Cofer, Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia
  • 1984                To Be Alone, Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, Madison, Georgia, February 18–June 3
  • 1982                Susan Cofer, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
  • 1981                Artworks on Paper, Creative Arts Guild, Dalton, Georgia
  • 1976                Drawings, Heath Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia 

- The High Museum of Art contributed to this article


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