Lois Lambert Gallery, Suite E3
Exhibition Dates: May 11th, 2019 – July 6th, 2019
Opening reception Saturday, May 11th, 6-9pm
Lois Lambert Gallery presents mixed media artist Carol Coates and her latest series on perception and choice, MindsEye.
MindsEye developed out of Coates’ earlier series Dissonance. Dissonance featured fabricated characters in unsettling situations that stimulated questions of how they could, would, or should respond to their environments and influences. Coates developed this idea further in the MindsEye series by changing the focus from the situation the characters were in, to how an individuals identity is perceived. The subjects of these paintings include people of different ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, races, personalities, and cultures yet are all simultaneously bold and playful, flaunting vibrant expressions and saturated colors. These pieces challenge the viewer to abandon their preconceived judgements about the external qualities of an individual and embrace the unfamiliar through a lens of acceptance.
This series questions how we see others and asks how we think others might see the world in return. Coates gathers her inspiration from our currently polarized society, where snap decisions from first impressions evolve into concrete judgements about the world and the people in it. Coates challenges the certainty with which these quick judgements are asserted and thus creates awareness. The steampunk eyeglasses depicted in each of Coates’s pieces embodies this philosophy as they symbolize a new lens of compassion that Coates encourages the viewer to look through while interpreting her work. These paintings as a whole are an invitation to stop, slow down, and listen to the person beneath the extrema surrounding them, rather than the extrema themselves.
Coates begins each composition with photographs of live models or digitally augmented and contrived characters. These initial characters either become references for a hand drawn and painted finished piece or the basis of a mixed media work. From there she incorporates
the eyewear images and manipulates the piece with a mixture of oil and acrylic. Coates has mastered a wide variety of skills ranging from drawing and painting to metal smithing, sculpture, darkroom and digital photography. Each of these tools play a part in the composition and execution of her series Mindseye.
Carol Coates received her Master’s Degree in Fine Art from the University of Michigan. She was awarded the Bronze Medal in New Media from Fortezza de Basso in Florence, Italy in 2003. Publicly, Coates constructed a mixed media mesh overlay installation at the World Headquaters for Dow Chemicals Co. as well as a 300 ft mural in the Midland County Circuit Courtroom in Michigan. She has also shown in museums and galleries nationwide including the Denver Art Museum, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, and the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Michigan.