Friday, June 11, 2010

David Bates: The Katrina Paintings at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art- Kansas City

Texas artist David Bates has long been one of my favorites.  Like so many of us, he was deeply moved by Hurricane Katrina and began sketching the New Orleans residents he saw on television news almost immediately. He spent the next several years painting scenes of the aftermath and created many large portraits of the grieving faces he had witnessed.   His work became a chronicle of the suffering and  damage done by the storm.

I am counting the days until the weekend trip my husband and I have planned to see the exhibition David Bates: the Katrina Paintings, at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art 
in Kansas City.

Photo from MW Capacity blog

David's paintings are compelling and spiritual. While I have admired his work for many years, I now have a new respect for his realistic and narrative style. His work reminds me of Picasso and another favorite of mine, Marsden Hartley.
I can hardly wait to experience this series in person.

Photo from Arthur Roger Gallery

There is tons of information on line on David's work, and particularly this series. If you are interested in doing a search,  this article is especially informative and to the point.

 Barbecue Man, a lithograph by David Bates, which hangs in my kitchen, was a gift of sorts years ago from Peregrine Press in Dallas. Unlike the Katrina series, this work brings a smile to one's face.

Peregrine Press is no longer in existence from what I have learned, but was at one time a great source for prints made by noted artists.

In Dallas, Mike Hart, a graduate of the print program at the University of North Texas, founded Peregrine Press with his wife Jo Ann in 1981. For the next ten years, the Harts invited many of the most accomplished artists in Texas, including eighty-three-year-old Otis Dozier, to create editions in their facility. Others who created editions at Peregrine include John Alexander, Eric Avery, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Bates, Linda and Ed Blackburn, Derek Boshier, Earl Staley and Judy Youngblood. Peregrines high-quality editions gave these artists a first-class printmaking experience and built an informed print audience statewide. The Harts eventually retired, donating their equipment to the Print Research Institute of North Texas in Denton
Art Lies: Art quarterly

I so look forward to visiting Kansas City and experiencing this amazing collection of work. I will report back!


  1. Thank you so much for featuring one of our (Kansas City's) finest museums and the work of this tremendously talented artist!!

    Art by Karena

  2. I was one of the many people who only have the tv for reference of the devastation, now to be inspired by this. But also it is a beautiful way never to forget the suffering of that awful disaster.

  3. you are coming to Kansas City!! that is where I live, just outside of Kansas City in Weston MO... what a wonderful time you'll have and thank you for sharing this!!

  4. I have ALWAYS LOVED your taste in Art!



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