Dallas Art Fair Insider: David Bates

The reaction to our April cover has been much like the eyes of the man on it: riveting. The story that the cover %26ldquo;belongs%26rdquo; to is about the house of Mersina Stubbs, a Dallas decorator who opened the door to her own mixed-up manse (she combines anything with anything, to great effect) and let us poke around. But the man on the cover is well worth knowing about, too. He is one of many Gulf Coast natives upended by Hurricane Katrina, and documented by Dallas artist David Bates. Bates has been capturing Gulf Coast and Arkansas characters %26mdash; fisherman, lake guides, swamp folk %26mdash; long before the infamous hurricane of 2005, but it%26rsquo;s those emotionally charged Katrina portraits that take one%26rsquo;s breath away. (Exhibit A being our April cover.) Bates himself personifies an important part of the contemporary arts scene here: %26ldquo;internationally acclaimed,%26rdquo; wrote SMU when it awarded him a Distinguished Alumni honor in 2005, yet %26ldquo;true to his Texas roots.%26rdquo; Indeed, Bates%26rsquo; work springs from a certain Dallas regionalism of the 1930s and %26rsquo;40s, but it pulls that era firmly into the now. Another Dallas art icon %26mdash; the powerhouse gallery Dunn and Brown Contemporary %26mdash; has been the nexus of all things Bates for nearly two decades and counting. His Katrina series was first exhibited there, and Dunn and Brown was the first to publish a catalogue of it. But more than that, the D%26amp;B + Bates relationship is that of an influential Dallas gallery representing a significant Dallas artist %26mdash; a synthesis that is good for all. At the gallery at 5020 Tracy Street and at Dunn and Brown%26rsquo;s space at the Dallas Art Fair, April 8 to 10, you can get much closer to much more from the Dallas native, who so richly narrates everything from irises to owls in such humble materials as oil and canvas.

Click on 'launch slideshow' at top of story to explore some of Bates' work at Dunn and Brown Contemporary.

Lead image and PaperCity cover: Stephen Karlisch, April 2011

All other images: Courtesy of Dunn and Brown Contemporary


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