I had never heard of painter David Bates before, but I noted his striking paintings pictured in the Sunday edition of the Kansas City Star and was intrigued by them. I was further intrigued to read about him in the article that accompanied the images. He is based in Dallas, and educated at Southern Methodist University, but loves New Orleans, and has been going to that city for 25 years, painting its natural aspects.
"Lady in a Black Dress" David Bates
When Katrina hit, he was unable to go and personally see the scenes in the city, so working from news reports, he began to paint his impressions of the visuals and the emotions of the people. He worked on this series for two years, painting his last Katrina themed work in 2007. The works have been shown here and there, but the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art will have 80% of the works on exhibit.
As you can see, he's a modernist, but a realistic painter and one painting a theme or narrative. I like the quote pulled by The Star from this New York Times article. "David Bates is having a perfectly interesting career without any attention from the New York art establishment, thank you very much." (I suppose he's not weird and hip enough for most in the NY art scene.)
Details: Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is at 4420 Warwick Boulevard in Kansas City Missouri. Hours are Tues-Thurs 10-4, Fri-Sat 10-9, Sun 11-5. Admission and parking are free. On the web at www.kemperart.org. Bates' exhibit starts May 21 and ends August 22. I plan on going; the pictures of the paintings I have seen in the paper and on line are powerful and vivid.
Links of note: Kansas City Star: Paintings of David Bates are a vivid chronicle of Hurricane Katrina. Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans, Bates' home Gallery.