David Bates

The paintings in “Down Highway 23” are the result of a fishing trip in the late spring of 2010, the fateful year of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Instead of the planet’s finest redfish, David Bates was met with a poisoned landscape crawling with reporters, politicians and well-meaning volunteers. Through the hubbub, Bates observed the faces and posture of the local fishers and crabbers. Although wary, their looks also conveyed a resolution far from resignation. Employing his distinctive bold style, Bates documented the resilience of the coast natives. They, unlike the tarballs, oiled birds, politicians and media, reflected the essence of the landscape. The austerity and restraint obvious in this series reflect the artist’s deep respect for the survivors of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. David Bates was born in Dallas, Texas in 1952. He graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1975 and then earned his Master of Fine Arts there in 1978. He is best known for his paintings and sculptures of the people and landscapes of the Gulf Coast, ranging from fishermen to flowers native to the swamps of the South.His paintings are in collections throughout the United States including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City and The New Orleans Museum of Art.