Jennifer Coates Communes with the Gods of Nighttime Revelry

by AryanArtnews
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A thought experiment that I sometimes do when looking at art is to ask myself what kind of god creates the world that is expressed or implied in the work I see. In my experience, there are many gods: the god of second chance, the god of travel, the god of little things, the god of wine and songs. The painter Jennifer Coates clearly associates with the shining gods of the night.At her exhibition Lakewood, Pennsylvania Goddess Coats are crepuscular creatures that appear only when the total human consciousness is resting, portrayed in a very lively forest with shortened screens that glow here and there. In the wall-sized painting “Dryads and Hay Fever (Birds)” (2021), along with flying birds, fluorescent flower heads, fairy dust-filled trees, and the flora here. There is a head of a female figure that looks like it is growing.

The show is divided into two locations: a permanent space on High Noon on Forsyth Street and a temporary space on Eldridge. Another large painting (second place) “Dryads and Pollinators (Moths)” (2021) takes viewers further into the world late at night. Here, all creatures are ringed in indigo shades and moths flicker around the female figure depicted in the profile. As the night goes on, they are rising from roaming and increasing their presence. In small paintings, they take perfect form, prey with goats and each other, hunt, eat, and play their part in cult rituals. Immediately I realize that the female figure is a demigod. I’m given windows in the world they created, a brighter, greener, female-centered place than myself.

Jennifer Coates, “Dryads and Pollinators (Birds)” (2021), acrylic paint and spray paint on canvas, 72 x 96 inches (all images by author)
Jennifer Coates, “Three Nymphs” (2021) Acrylic, canvas 16 x 20 inches

Lakewood, Pennsylvania Goddess It will continue at the High Noon Gallery (124 Forsyth Street permanent space and 136 Eldridge temporary space) until January 23, 2022.

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Seph Rodney, PhD, is a senior critic of Hyperallergic and has contributed to the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and other publications.He is featured on the podcast The … More by Seph Rodney

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