Jennifer Coates | Lesser Gods of Lakewood, PA
December 2 - January 23
High Noon is pleased to present Lesser Gods of Lakewood, PA, the gallery’s second exhibition of paintings by Jennifer Coates. The exhibition will take place across two locations on parallel streets— High Noon’s permanent space at 124 Forsyth, and a temporary space at 136 Eldridge. In this new body of work, minor deities of Greek myth appear like ghosts in the abstracted landscape of rural Pennsylvania. The figures merge with their surroundings as weeds and trees become a site of both Pagan ritual and painterly event. Through drawing and gardening, Coates has established a deep familiarity with the local flora. The plants she paints are mostly found in edge ecologies - threshold spaces where cultivation and wildness meet.
The large scale paintings hang together like tapestries with a variety of marks slowly accumulating in layers and zones to create a flickering but cohesive whole. The smaller paintings present more condensed narrative episodes. The works reflect an engagement with art history: they are like love letters to favorite artworks such as the House of Livia frescoes from Ancient Rome, Fra Angelico’s Noli Mi Tangere, Poussin’s drawings of the Triumph of Pan, as well as the paintings of Redon and Burchfield.
Light effects are amplified and color is intensified, suffusing the paintings with the glow of synthetic chemistry. While oil paint references earth and flesh, acrylic paint speaks to the history of plastics and dyes. Fluorescent paints, colors of safety and warning, are used to heighten and toxify the dense, hallucinatory scenes.
Jennifer Coates is an artist working in Brooklyn, NY and Lakewood, PA. She is the 2021 recipient of the John Koch Art Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2021 NYFA Award in painting, a 2019 Fellowship at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and a Sharpe Walentas Studio residency (2018-2019). Recent solo shows include Covid Metamorphoses, George Gallery/High Noon, NYC; Pagan Forest, West Chester University, PA; and Toxic Halo, High Noon, NYC. Her work has been written about in BOMB Magazine, the Brooklyn Rail, Art Critical, Hyperallergic, the Huffington Post, Smithsonian Journeys, and Art News, among other publications.