Gregory Coates American, b. 1961


Gregory Coates explores the possibility and nature of unorthodox material by juxtaposing various materials such as steel plates, cardboard, rubber hoses, duct tape, twine, feathers and paint into amalgams of texture and color. Much of his work is about opposites — refined/raw, slow/fast, sophisticated/street, traditional/non-traditional — all of which are indicative of his Washington, D.C. upbringing, where he embraced the polarity of the “Go-Go” and “D.C. Hardcore” music scenes. Coates defines himself as a painter, mainly because of his need to use color as a tool of communication, but he simultaneously challenges the notion of using color and paint as subject matter used to create an “implied space.” Instead, Coates is more interested in the “actual space,” making use of texture, shape and light as the subject and using color mostly as a means to seduce the viewer into investigating the materials.


Coates studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. He has held numerous residencies that informed his work, such as Gasworks in London, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Triangle Workshops in Cape Town, South Africa, Pine Plains, New York, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New Orleans. He also spent several months in Berlin as an artist in residence at Tacheles and in his student years in Düsseldorf Germany. 


His artwork is included in museum collections such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, The Virginia Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Paul Pozzoza Museum in Düsseldorf, Germany, the City of Obama in Japan, and many corporate and private collections.  A large commissioned piece is installed at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.  Coates is a Joan Mitchell Foundation and New York Foundation Fellow and was awarded the Pollock-Krasner- and Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation (Emergency) Grant.


Coates currently lives and works in Allentown, PA.