David Bates - Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture

David Bates

Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture

October 27 - December 15, 2012

The gallery has documented the exhibition with a catalogue, which features an interview between the artist and Rachel Cozad, former director of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

With new still life compositions and paintings of historic buildings in Galveston, Bates continues his quest to capture of essence of place and vitality of life within each artwork.  The painting Oleanders presents vibrant flowering branches full of blooms freshly cut and placed within a blue and white porcelain vase.  Through the window behind the floral arrangement, the viewer glimpses the rolling waters and troubled skies of an approaching storm.  Another painting within the exhibition that embodies the elements of the Gulf Coast is The Sealy House, as Bates’ representation shows the importance of how color, the play of light and the framing of surrounding landscape all contribute to the overall impression of the structure within its setting.

In addition the paintings and drawings within the show, bronze sculptures of various subjects–including Venus figures, skulls, and owls–offer some of the artist’s first large-scale sculpture in more than ten years.  Beginning as a block of wood carved by the artist with chainsaw, the classic female form personified within Venus III bears the artist’s angled marks before the sculpture was cast into bronze and finished with patina and paint.  Continuing the long tradition of the female nude in art history, Bates’ abstract rendition communicates the act of mark making and the artist’s interaction with the material to release its form.

A native of Dallas, Bates attended Southern Methodist University and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1975, after which he participated in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art.  In 1978, the artist then completed his studies for a Master of Fine Arts degree at Southern Methodist University.

Early in his career, Bates’ paintings were featured in major group exhibitions that traveled across the country, including the 38th Corcoran Biennial Exhibition, organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; New Narrative Painting, organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and American Still Life: 1945-1983, coordinated by the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston.  In 1987, Bates’ work was included in the prestigious Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.  More recently, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art featured the artist’s poignant drawings and paintings inspired by the devastation and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina with a moving exhibition, David Bates: The Katrina Paintings, in 2010. This show then traveled to the Knoxville Museum of Art in Tennessee.

Bates’ paintings and sculpture are represented in the permanent collections of more than forty museums across the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Lincoln, Nebraska; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth, Texas; the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Dallas Museum of Art.