Studio Visit: Mary F. Coats

Mary F. Coats is an artist based out of Iowa City, Iowa. Her work can be seen in PLEAT's November 2015 exhibition as well as maryfcoats.com.

Could you briefly describe what your work is about?
Repetition has become an undeniable focus of my work, as I continuously pull from a catalogue of forms I have assembled. Although each painting can be considered individually, I am interested in the constant repetition and echoing that is occurring in the work. I feel that through these repeated forms a larger, more complex environment is coming to exist, only reachable through recollection. In an attempt to recreate the true essence of a time or place, I am constantly questioning the way I remember things, in hopes to more clearly discern what is true.

Who are your artistic influences? What have you learned from them?
There are so many, but one that stands out would be Anne Truitt. She talked about searching for the "maximum possible meaning in the simplest possible form", which is something I constantly think about and search for as well. Whenever I'm feeling down or discouraged in the studio, I re-read her book 'Daybook' and it always reminds me to just keep going.      
   
What inspires you and keeps you going back to your studio?
In the film 'Beautiful Losers', artist Mike Mills says, "If you're not dispossessed, why make art?" 'Beautiful Losers' is another source I go to when feeling discouraged in the studio, and I do believe I'm in line with Mills' statement; I need to make work to make sense of the world and to make sense of my experience in the world, and that desire helps me stay in the studio and keep working.     
 
What is the best piece of artistic advice you have ever received?

A professor of mine in undergrad was telling about a time some of his grad students lost work in a fire. He sympathized of course but he told me he had to believe his best work was always ahead of him. That has always stuck with me, I believe that too and it helps me to keep a level head when things go wrong or work gets damaged