New York

David Bates

Charles Cowles Gallery

Although David Bates has been primarily known for his folk art-inspired paintings of life in the American Southwest, in this show he integrates painting into a three-dimensional format—largely figurative sculptures and wall reliefs, in plaster, wood, bronze, and mixed media, featuring bright, jazzy colors and textures and caricaturish renderings. Bates sets new formal and technical challenges for himself in creating an engagingly loopy, hybrid art form that suggests a meeting between Picasso’s sculpture and the brush of a folk artist. His alliance of folk art and Cubism is clever: Cubism evolved, after all, from another form of “primitive” art, and Picasso in particular maintained a lifelong interest in both caricature and sculpture as well as in painting.

Bates’ gestures are not necessarily original: he is not the first to paint sculptures, nor are his caricatured figures or use of roughly

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