Gregory Coates: STRUT

February 23 - April 1, 2006


Magnan Projects is pleased to present Gregory Coates STRUT.  The exhibition will be on view from February 23 – April 1, 2006.

For STRUT, Coates constructed a site specific installation to work within the unique gallery space of Magnan Projects.  Inspired by spatial aspects of the long narrow room, Coates plays with ideas of entry and exit, seeing the works in one way and then turning around to view them in another light, as well as the journey (strut) of experiencing the artwork.  Upon entering the gallery, the viewer is met by a floor-to-ceiling black rubber “painting”, resembling bamboo.  The sheer size of the piece encourages the viewer to get up close and examine his use of materials.  Coates also embraces the nature of the peripheral experience; one must walk by several times to take in its entirety.  
Coates’ interest in surface and material is not limited to rubber.  In other pieces, he wraps the surface of wood palette frames with shrink wrap, emulating elements of layering found in traditional painting techniques and incorporating aspects of drawing in their linear forms.  His unique use of materials and hybrid approach to art push the envelope as to what constitutes a painting.

Art Critic Franklin Sirmans observes, “The new work of Gregory Coates, like those before it, comes from a deep and long tradition with abstraction and common materials—discarded, excess or just plain forgotten. Assembled of wrapped rubber and plastic, the works are layered and often three-dimensional. Yet, as Deirdre Scott has noted, Coates “works at the junction between disciplines, media and meaning creating works that are wholly constructed, at once painting and wall sculpture.”
While much of Coates’ work has become known for its particularly black aesthetic of inventive material reuse and repetition of form, his work’s materiality remains immersed in the abstraction of improvisation. Depending on where you’re coming from in the encounter with the work, they hint at and/or shun any form of narrative. Even when monumental in size, the work remains elusive to categorization, further enhancing its provisional character.
One might find that Coates’ works speaks of the fabric of the urban landscape. The materials come from warehouse, perhaps like those of the garages that once populated the now gallery-filled streets of Chelsea. Fittingly, this show is called Strut. Walking sidewalks or streets--the changing urban landscape—the material is a reminder of the erosion of working-class urban landscapes. As a modernist-inspired flaneur, Coates struts and works at the same time. The disappearance of neighborhoods in favor of marketable development is also very much at the heart of these works. Using industrial colors like beige and a house paint white, the constructions seemingly celebrate a more gritty reality that takes comfort in the fact that there is so much to offer in the material world at our hands. Fortunately for us, Coates brings that reality to life.”

Over the past decade, the work of Gregory Coates has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in New York, as well as London, Berlin and Munich.  He has received awards such as The Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, The New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and the Edward Mitchell Bannister Society’s Artistic Achievement Award.  His work is in many private and public collections including: The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Microsoft Corporation and Phillip Morris.