More than simply hybrids or blends of modernism, surrealism or conceptual art, Coughlan's work moves beyond tribute iconography by tapping his existing surroundings and own mortality. Non-sequitur phrases and objects in barren landscapes unfold with new meaning when the literal translation of content or glorified remembrance of a specific art style is emptied out, jiggled up and poured back in.
Michael Coughlan's solo exhibitions have been seen in Europe, Los Angeles and New York. Recent group exhibitions include shows at Stalke Gallery, Kirke Saaby, Denmark, and Wilding Cran Gallery in Los Angeles. His work has garnered praise and been featured in reviews in Artforum, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, The LA Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Tema Celeste, among others. He is the recipient of a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant (1996) and was a resident artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida 2011. Coughlan earned an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design for Painting.