Studio Visit with Gavin Coote
The first thing you notice about Gav is that he is quite possibly the friendliest man on the planet... He wandered in to the gallery some time in 2015 to say hi and check it out after moving to Orange from Broken Hill. He'd heard from a friend that there was a group exhibition, Works on Paper, coming up and wondered how to enter. He did enter and my gosh was his painting a hit with the customers - a strange creature resembling a horse standing on it's two hind legs spouting some random statement about touch typing!
Strange creatures and statements seem to be Gav's specialty. Gavin has described his own work as "absurd" and "childlike", and I'm sure a lot of people would agree, but I'd describe them as striking and amusing. Most of his characters resemble real animals such as emus, cows or horses but others are completely imaginary. He uses loud and often conflicting colours, yet somehow they work.
Gavin is lucky enough to share studio space at the Orange Colour City Creatives Barracks on Piesley Street, a huge, very cool building under the railway bridge. The building was deserted on the day I visited Gav. He showed me upstairs to his pretty decent sized room featuring a large window providing natural light and fresh air. An old bedsheet protects the floor underneath the easel from red paint splatters, of which there are many. The current work in progress depicts an emu covered in blood and limbs protruding at unpleasant angles. Gavin tells me it's a painting of an emu he recently hit on the way home to Broken Hill. The emu is accompanied by an "absurd" caption that makes me chuckle and shrug... I won't tell u what it says, you'll have to come to the exhibition and see for yourself.
When he tires of painting and needs to let off some steam, Gav heads down to the empty car park and skates around for a bit until he tires of that too and returns upstairs. So very very childish....
Gavin's first solo exhibition opens at The Corner Store Gallery on Thursday February 4th with an opening night on Friday the 5th from 6pm, see you there!