Jennifer Coates and David Humphrey, Dogs, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 18 inches

Jennifer Coates and David Humphrey, Lisa, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 18 inches

David Humphrey, Her Shadow, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 44 x 54 inches

Jennifer Coates and David Humphrey, Birds, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 18 inches

Jennifer Coates and David Humphrey, Clean Pillows, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14 inches

Jennifer Coates and David Humphrey, Cheetos, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 10 inches

Jennifer Coates, Rigatoni Casserole, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches


"Plush Onus"

April 25 – May 24, 2015

For Immediate Release: 

David Humphrey and Jennifer Coates: Plush Onus @ Arts+Leisure
April 25th - May 24th, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 25th,  7- 10pm 

Plush Onus: .. a collaboration between David Humphrey and Jennifer Coates

This exhibition consists of a thirty-five minute video commissioned by the Garth Newel Music Center to accompany a live performance of Terry Riley’s piece "In C", as well as a selection of collaborative paintings by Jennifer Coates and David Humphrey. In addition the artists will present two works apiece by their own hand.

Pillaging happens when we touch another person’s painting. If you are brave, you might allow someone access to your pictorial attitudes and then sit back in horror as they wield their brush with mal-intentions, slurring your ideas, coarsening your shapes, mutating your figures into dipshits, where once they were carriers of Romance and Ideology. In this annexed state, your paintings submit to bruising. Your pride is salted like a wound. It is in this place of territorial tangling that we try to have some fun and act like we don’t mind: in honor of better paintings: in honor of terseness, of fecundity, of gingerly twisted muck-ups. We don’t mind being soiled by the other, because we know “this is how it is” and “it is what it is” and “I had to.” 

Hands stay clean in film but software smears collaborators onto each other by means of commands, sliders and numbers plugged wantonly into little boxes. The camera punctures and cuts the sensorium so that Terry Riley’s music can bring its diatonic balm and sutures.

-Jennifer Coates / David Humphrey


About this collaboration Humphrey’s and Coates’ longtime friend, artist and writer Dike Blair writes in his catalogue essay..

Most artist-couples are disciplined and religious in terms of respecting aesthetic, professional and, often, social boundaries. Not so go Jennifer Coates and David Humphrey.  My sense is that they’re deeply allied but revel in making both love and war along their common boundary. Socially they relish performing their roles, tamed-satyr David and potty-mouthed Jennifer. They’re a couple.
David celebrates their relationship in many of his paintings, representing Jennifer, in varying degrees of recognizability, as the Goddess of Gaze. David represents himself as a polymorphously perverse youth - and he is, in fact, still vital and boyish. His cartoonish, graphic, sometimes naïve looking paintings, pretend to belie (that’s part of the pleasure of their game) the fact that they are deeply intelligent, psychological, and weird; as well as being deftly painted. 


While David’s paintings may induce psychic nausea, Jennifer’s evoke a gross-out sublime. I’m thinking of bulimic Georgia O’Keeffe’s. In recent paintings of food (she paints many other things) - a giant corned beef sandwich, a dissected Snickers bar - she lifts paint to unusual heights of psychedelic viscosity. Her paintings’ POV veer from one that could be through the eyes of an intestinal protozoan to something seen via the Hubble. 


When radically different species of artists collaborate, the mutant hybrid can be interesting simply because it’s so strange. But what happens when the gross out sublime couples with the polymorphous perverse? Jennifer and David’s offspring look like their parents and are highly functional. This shouldn’t surprise much, David was a member of Team SHaG (collaborating with painters Elliott Green and Amy Sillman) for almost 10 years and he and Jennifer moonlight together playing in a number of bands (Phrogz, Jenny Get Around, and Ham); and, after all, they’re married. 


Jennifer Coates is an artist, writer and musician based in New York City. Coates received her MFA from Hunter College in 2001. She has shown in various galleries in New York including Kinz, Tillou + Feigen, Feigen Contemporary and Luxe Gallery.

David Humphrey is a New York artist who has shown nationally and internationally. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize among other awards. An anthology of his art writing, Blind Handshake, was published by Periscope Publishing in 2010. He teaches in the MFA programs at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania and is represented by Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, NY.


Please join us for an artist’s reception with light refreshments on Saturday, April 25th, 7-10 pm. The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color limited edition book, designed by Ninze Chen, available for sale $40 signed or $30 unsigned. For more information please contact, or call 212.828.5700