Kevin Coates



Information on Kevin Coates' 2014-15 exhibition

 Touring from January 2014, staring at the Ashmolean,Oxford, a special show of the work of artist-goldsmith, Dr Kevin Coates.  Coates is a multi-talented London-based artist - a musician, jeweller, and sculptor in diverse materials. The virtuoso works of art he creates from gold, precious stones, shell, and other exotica, are both exquisite and fantastical.  His work is to be found in private and public collections worldwide, including the V&A and British Museum, the Royal Museum of Scotland, the Cooper Hewitt (Smithsonian Institution) New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Following a successful solo exhibition at the Wallace Collection in London in 2011, Coates has been working on an ambitious new project, a “Bestiary” of sculptural jewels in a poetic elaboration of the bizarre medieval encyclopaedias known as Bestiaries, which assemble lore and myth about animals. Crucially, he has paired a series of individual creatures with their significant human, where the jewel is mounted in a modelled and painted Bestiary ‘page’. These include A Parrot for Flaubert; A Starling for Mozart; A Rhinoceros for Kaendler; and A Dodo for Mr. Dodgson. This new body of work, which Coates describes as “a voyage of discovery… of this dream Ark of mine”, begins its year-long national tour at the Ashmolean, alongside a selection of “Birthday jewels” which the artist has made over the years for his wife, Nel Romano, many of which will be exhibited for the first time in public.

Kevin Coates writes: “Here, I have made a Bestiary whose pages, in each case, are shared by the coupling of two individuals meeting across the great man/animal divide. These pages also have a concrete existence: they are wall-mounts, which each bear a jewel – a removable, wearable, jewel – through which I hope to express something of the joy I have in these special connections, overcoming, as they do, the want of a common language beyond that “great language” found in the eyes of animals…”

Ruthin Craft Centre, North Wales   12 April – 20 July

Harley Gallery, Welbeck   20 August - 19 October

Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh  November 2014 to January 2015


Image details:   Kevin Coates, Brooch in a wall mount A Dodo for Mr Dodgson
18ct. gold, labradorite, rubies, black horn, white gold (pins)
Height: 6.2 cm; width: 5.6 cm
Signed and dated on reverse   2012
© Kevin Coates. Photography Clarissa Bruce