White Rabbit ‘Booming’ with works by IC artist Mary Coats

General Caption
Boom for Real runs through Aug. 31 at White Rabbit. — photo via Mary F. Coats

Boom for Real Artist Reception

White Rabbit — Wednesday, Aug. 20 at 5 p.m.

If you’ve been to White Rabbit these past couple of weeks, you may have noticed the electrically colored modular shapes of Mary F. Coats‘ paintings hanging on the walls. The gallery, titled Boom For Real, is the product of Coats’ four-week residency at Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont — on display for the first time at White Rabbit.

"Burn Baby Burn" by Mary F. Coats
From “Burn Baby Burn” by Mary F. Coats

“This is a different way of installing [the paintings],” Coats said. “…I don’t usually group so many of the similar shapes together. It was suggested to me, and I thought it was a valid idea, because the repetition is so important.”

Aside from the arrangement, one of the most distinguishing features of Coats’ work is her nearly fluorescent color palette and her ability to capture the eye of the onlooker.

“I’m looking at color interactions that walk the line between being something you really want to look at and something that’s almost hard to look at,” Coats said. “I’m after those interactions where the colors really start to vibrate.”

In the three-part sequence “Burn Baby Burn” for instance, Coats interchanges the reds to blues and then vice-versa. The effect is maddening yet extremely satisfying.

Coats says that her inspiration comes from her surroundings, the familiarity of repetition and the imagined spaces that she has inhabited. She pays homage to the spaces that have most influenced her work with titles that reference everything from rap songs to Russian philosophers and wrestling icons.

White Rabbit will host a reception featuring Coats and her paintings on Aug. 20 at 5 p.m.

Coats has spent the last four years in Iowa City, where she earned an MFA in painting from the University of Iowa. She currently works full-time as an artist, curates for Prairie Lights Café and repairs bikes at 30th Century Bicycle.

"Good Kid, Mad City" by Mary F. Coats
“Good Kid, Mad City” by Mary F. Coats

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