Fred Coppin: 22 Degrees



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22 degrees is said to be the temperature at which humanity is most comfortable and emotionally stable. Fred Coppin’s work is concerned with contentedness, “a quiet, calm, reassuring warmth rather than the short-lived intensity of full-blown excitement or happiness.”  Coppin’s calming motifs and refinement of complex images into simple shape and colour, treads a careful balance between energy and quietness. He aspires to find new ways of simplifying core elements of the world around him, creating methods and codes to transform all of the details of life; the sound, the feeling, the weather, even the conversations, into a painting. 


The subjects in these new paintings were largely inspired by opportunities to explore and travel again through the summer months of 2021, most recently a trip to Mallorca; sunshine, tennis, biking, boating all play their part. Sa Calobra is said to be the best climb on a bike in the world, you go down first, then up, for Coppin this has a 22 degrees level appeal.  Light and colour play a significant role in Coppin’s work.  This stems from his interest in photography and, more deeply, the emotional and aesthetic power of sunlight. Light is indicative of the positivity Coppin tries to convey and the way light operates in straight lines draws back to his interest in geometric design. Umpire, Underwater Girl, La Reina and Boulevard are all good examples.


There is invariably hope in Fred’s paintings. The places he paints, while being palpable, embody a sense of the exotic, and an element of the fantastical, they are like the meeting place between fantasy and reality.  American painter Richard Diebenkorn (1922 -1993) is a source of constant inspiration to Coppin. He appears here in Dialogue, a reference to his ongoing influence, which can be seen more clearly in paintings Casa and Dreamboat. Hermanos and Map With No Ocean are inspired by contemporary musicians Hermanos Gutierrez and James Blake respectively, both of whom regularly soundtrack his studio.


Fred Coppin captures an eternal sense of optimism in his work through a distinctive combination of amplified colour and playful forms, in which he exaggerates the world into a permanently dream-like state that allows us, as viewers, to linger in a moment of utopian calm. Coppin’s paintings are tied together by an uplifting impulse to dissect, exaggerate and reassemble the world around us into its most hopeful state.