Sam McCoy was born and raised in Orlando, Florida in the 90s. She received her BFA from the University of Central Florida and her MFA from Florida State University. She is a contemporary painter who focuses on the boundaries between natural and hyperreal landscapes of Florida. She pulls her inspirations from a world she grew up in where spectacles and roadside attractions dominate America’s tourism capital. Between eco-tourism destinations and constructed gardens, McCoy explores the contradictions of her experiences in these places. By pulling back the metaphorical curtain on a carefully crafted image of Florida, McCoy’s ideas of disenchantment and re-enchantment are enacted in each painting. The viewer can still find meaning in the shadier discordant corners of the State. She is currently working in Tallahassee as an artist, instructor, and art programs manager.
The Sunshine State is a sinking peninsula and constructed utopia, a swampland that teeters between the sacred and the profane. Florida is seemingly pieced together by an assemblage of ideals, myths, morals, histories, and systems while also being chewed up by hurricanes, wildfires, political riffs, diseases, and false realities. Through collage and painting, Sam McCoy explores the history of a changing Florida landscape. The work recontextualizes the genre of Florida Landscape Painting into a contemporary narrative that emphasizes color, deconstruction, and enchantment. By using collage, McCoy has collected ephemera, narratives from Romantic Florida landscape painters, and abstracted imagery from roadside attractions to understand how branding of the state was shaped by agriculture advertisements and tourism. This, paired with her own memories, helps reframe the experience in a contemporary and ever growing Florida facade. Whiplash, disorientation, and a cycle of disenchantment and re-enchantment are intertwined with the sentimentality that brands this sub-tropical landscape.