Magnan Projects is pleased to present its second solo show for Gregory Coates. This new body of work consists of recent paintings and three-dimensional works in which the artist fuses painterly elements with feathers.
Mute presents Coates’ new work from the Feather Series reflecting a departure in approach and attitude in his art. These paintings are far more introspective for Coates. They are loaded with a multiplicity of undefined references both artistic and allegorical. They have an overall affect that align them with spiritual and ceremonial objects of nonwestern cultures. The spiritual aspect of these feathered works is partly due to their association with grief and eulogy given that Coates wants them to function as a memorial to loss. However, the feather works reject a direct topical reference to death and grieving, rather they become sites for sanctuary and contemplation. They are not meant to speak to finality, but metamorphosis. But while these works are partially requiem to loss, Coates doesn’t want to languish in the tragic, or sorrow, rather he wants the viewer to feel a harmony beyond the tragic in order to transcend it.
Technically, the new paintings are a little deceptive in that the viewer’s initial impression centers on the overall visual density of the work. Closer inspection reveals the variety of materials and textures. The receding depth of the feathered surfaces heightens our awareness of these densely painted surfaces. Unlike Coates’ earlier work with their impenetrable interior surfaces, here interior space appears rather open and the exterior is loaded with rich tactile quality. For the most part texture provides the lead in these new works resulting in a complex build-up and modulation of varying surface treatments created by the applications of the feathers to the wooden surfaces that accentuates the complexity of the color scheme. He has skillfully achieved a complex surface texture by partially transforming their materiality through as series of overriding rhythmic patterns that dominate the works and saturating the painted surface. The build-up of surfaces rather functions here to enhance their illusionistic effects. This approach achieves paintings that are rich and lustrous in their surface treatment, yet somewhat elusive.
Gregory Coates studied at Corcoran School of Art, Washington D.C., and later at Kunst Akademie Duesseldorf, Germany and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine. Since the late 80’s his art works have been included in numerous solo and group exhibition projects including: Magnan Projects, New York, Galerie Denkraum Vienna, Phillips Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA, Studio Sinnvoll, Vienna, Austria, Rhode Island College Bannister Gallery, Providence, R.I., Threadwaxing Space, NYC, New York State Museum Albany, NY, Philadelphia Academy of Art, Philadelphia, Studio Museum in Harlem, Sotheby’s NY, Stamford Center for the Arts, Stamford, CT., Miami Art Museum, and the Paul Pozozza Museum , Duesseldorf, Germany. He has held several artist residences in Berlin, London, New Zealand, South Africa, and has taught at various institutions including the School of Visual Arts, NYC, RISD, Providence, RI and Columbia College, Chicago. Mr. Coates’ awards and fellowships include The Edward Mitchell Bannister Award for Excellence in Art, The Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship, Pollack-Krasner Foundation, and New York Foundation for the Arts. Coates’ artworks are include various public and private collections including, Microsoft, Inc, Burrell Communications, Phillip Morris Corporation, The Coco Cola Bottling Company, Studio Museum in Harlem, Bank of Delaware, Beneficial Corporation, City fo Duesseldorf, Germany, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Coates currently has an exhibition, Gregory Coates: Positions at Russell Sage College Gallery, Troy, NY through March 16, 2008.