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 David Bates  (1952 - )

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Lived/Active: Texas      Known for: mod-naive genre painting, sculptor

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David Bates
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Dallas, Texas, David Bates became a noted realistic figure and narrative painter at a time when Abstract Expressionism was all-prevailing.  However, he has been influenced by modernism including the painting of Vincent Van Gogh, German Expressionism and American Expressionist, Marsden Hartley.  He later added abstract sculpture to his pursuits, working in painted wood and painted bronze.  Many of his paintings are large scale, a size with which he is comfortable because he is six-feet three inches tall.

Of his work, it was written: "A natural storyteller influenced by his Texas upbringing and affection for family and longtime friends, Bates uses dark outlines, simplified forms, and heavy impastos in compositions that appear at once almost naive and highly sophisticated." (Dreisbach 9)

He spent his childhood in Garland, Texas, where his mother encouraged his art talent.  His father took him hunting and fishing, and he often incorporated outdoor sporting themes into his subject matter.  He earned degrees from Southern Methodist University, and did a year of independent study at the Whitney Museum in New York City.  There he was most unique because he did figurative work among abstractionists, but he was encouraged by Red Grooms, who made it seem okay to paint figures and realism.

He married a fellow student from SMU in 1980, and then taught art at Eastfield College in Dallas.  In 1983, he turned to full-time painting and became known as a Neo- Expressionist, who interjected both vision and a sense of humor into his painting.  In 1986, the Pepsi Cola Bottling Group commissioned him as one of four artists to create work in celebration of the 1986 Texas Sesqui-Centennial.  A limited edition of seventy-five lithographs was printed for that occasion, and the soft drink company donated many of these to museums, which enhanced his name recognition.

He is a compulsive painter who works every day and completes about fifteen paintings per year.  He makes numerous drawings before beginning his canvases.

His work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Phoenix Art Museum, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and the Dallas Museum of Art.  In 1987, he was part of a cultural exchange of Texas artists showing their work in Berlin, Germany.


Sources include:
Docent Files, Phoenix Art Museum
Janet Dreisbach, Foreward to Singular Expressions, exhibition catalogue of Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery

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