David Bates at
Dunn & Brown Contemporary
by J R Compton
The boyish, folksycharm and real-people content that Bates' work used to fairly glow with is missing in these stiff, complex, nearly abstracted, vase-happy still-life constructions.
A few quickie prints in one of the smaller rooms were simpler, easier to like, and probably cheaper, but I couldn't stop thinking that David Bates' work has lost the primitive, human charm that made him famous and successful.
Okay, having said that, I'm in love with his dense, contrasty colors, rich painterly textures and subtly dynamic use of that third dimension. At a critic's panel at The MAC last month, Dallas critic Charles Dee Mitchell called Bates's work in this new show "mature."
While most of the work here is truly 'still' life, some, like the blocky, generic fisherperson holding the latern and a gig above, seem to be caught in a torrent of sky, sea and light motion.
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