Seated Man #4


David Bates ( American, 1952 )

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General Description

The mature work of David Bates, one of the most widely recognized Texas artists, is informed by a deep knowledge and love of art history, folk art traditions, and the people and places of the Southeast, most particularly the Texas coast and the Grassy Lake area of Arkansas. With his dogs, fishermen, and swampland flora and fauna, Bates creates an evocative and richly textured sense of place. Like the work of William Faulkner or the East Texas writer William Goyen, who used the language and landscape of their locales, Bates's work is regional and strongly connected to place, but touches on the universal.

A dynamic relationship exists between Bates's objects and paintings. His early wood wall reliefs of the late 1970s can be viewed as three-dimensional paintings coming out from the wall, and the heavy, angular lines and patterns of rich color in his paintings, which recall those of Max Beckmann and Marsden Hartley, produce a sculptural effect.

In late 1993, Bates began working exclusively on creating sculpture at the Walla Walla Foundry in Washington. Using an assemblage technique, he collected and wired together disparate materials; some of these constructed sculptures were cast in bronze and then painted. In sculpture, Bates lets his materials motivate and guide him.

Seated Man #4 is composed of found materials that have traces of their former function as exteriors of homes, frameworks for buildings, and furniture. Bates engineers a lively play of opposite impulses - abstraction and representation, elegance and roughness, high and low art - in depicting a figure whose position is similar to classical representations of generals and politicians but whose humble materials and means of construction suggest an "Everyman."

Adapted from

  • Suzanne Weaver, "Seated Man #4," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Charles Venable (New Haven, NJ: Yale University Press, 1997), 303.

  • Charles Wylie, "Celebrating Sculpture: Modern and Contemporary Works from Dallas Collections," 2003.

Fun Facts

  • Seated Man #4 is composed of found materials such as exteriors of homes, frameworks for buildings, and furniture.