NEW YORK, NY Monica King Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Pennsylvania-based artist Gregory Coates, Actual and Implied, October 25 – December 7, 2019. Actual and Implied features over a dozen new mixed-media works composed of Coates’ signature found objects and post-minimalist assemblage. The exhibition’s title speaks to an overriding presence throughout the artist’s storied career: actual space versus the illusion of space, as well as the question of what is apparent and what is inferred. The gallery will host a public opening reception with the artist on Friday, October 25th from 6 – 8 PM.
In his recent body of work, initiated in 2016 and entitled the Cornrows series, Coates creates a visual dialogue between heightened texture, minimalist form, and a judicious use of color. The artist has dedicated the series to his grandmother, Beatrice Coates, who was a domestic worker. The exceptionally tactile compositions are constructed from collections of common scrub brushes coated with organic materials such as mud and often tinged a subtle, but captivating, orange color through the application of a rusting agent. Other brushes are enlivened with the artist’s characteristically bold palette creating a strong tension between the banal and the sublime. Coates’s idea of utilizing the deck brush as an artistic medium was inspired by the infamous incident of Joseph Beuys’ bathtub work being scrubbed clean by a cleaning lady. For Coates, the brushes exemplify the dichotomy between high art and everyday life.
The body of work also alludes to the representation of the pattern and texture of a traditional African hairstyle. As a student at a private Catholic school, Coates was often chided for wearing his hair in cornrows. This specific experience of being treated as “Other” has informed Coates’ exploration of the correlation between the policing of Black aesthetics, civil liberties, and the problematic history of domestic labor.
The exhibition also includes works from Coates’ new Fetish series, featuring found handbags transformed through earth elements of feathers, mud, and straw. Inspired by the artist’s mother, wife, and six sisters, the Fetish works reflect on the artist’s lifetime recognition of the special or magical space that is a women’s handbag, and his alignment of these objects to African Ritual Sculpture in carrying almost magical power out into the open.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Gregory Coates (1961–) studied at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington D.C., and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has shown at galleries including Magnan Projects, New York; Galerie Denkraum, Vienna, Austria; and N’Namdi Contemporary, Miami among others. His work has been acquired by numerous significant private collections as well as museum collections including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, PA; and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City. He is a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant Recipient, a New York Foundation Fellow, and was awarded a Pollock-Krasner and Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation (Emergency) Grant. Coates was born in Washington, D.C. and currently lives and works in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He frequently returns to New York City, where he lived for many years, to teach at SVA’s Summer Residency Programs.
ABOUT MONICA KING CONTEMPORARY
Founded and owned by Monica King, Monica King Contemporary is dedicated to an unwavering philosophy of equally supporting emerging, mid-career, and established artists in a manner that both builds and continues to nourish individual artist careers. Committed to an inclusive outlook, the 1,200 square foot storefront gallery encourages collectors at every stage to experience art and engage with a broad roster of artists. King has more than 17 years of experience in the contemporary art world supporting artists, collectors and museums. As Director of Exhibitions for both Pace and Paul Kasmin Galleries, she organized exhibitions with artists including Chuck Close, Walton Ford, David Hockney, Nir Hod, Maya Lin, Joel Shapiro, Kiki Smith and Fred Wilson, among many others. King has also worked with numerous estates such as Sol Lewitt, Adolph Gottlieb and Bridget Riley. Most recently, King served as the inaugural Director of the groundbreaking SOCO Gallery in her home state of North Carolina. King returned to New York in the winter of 2018 to realize her vision of a new gallery.
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