‘Soft Field’’, Eliot Coates (Olga)
Eliot Coates’ abstracts, painted in suffused colours on an aluminium backing, glow from within and create a sense of calm with their subtle soft colour shifts.
One of the intriguing features of Coates’ work is the strong feeling of depth that the artist is able to create from slow, almost imperceptible gradations of colour and tone. The soft, gradual changes of the works also give the feeling of looking at a tiny section of a far larger image, as if under a microscope, and that there is somehow the possibility that if we were to draw back to a great distance, some larger picture might resolve into understandable form.
The colour-field paintings have no obvious centre, no point to which the eye is instinctively drawn, yet their internal rhythms and depths are enough to create a contemplative effect. As with traditional Japanese Zen gardens, the minimalist aesthetic can create subconscious associations between the areas of light and shade, form and line, causing the viewer to feel a sense of calm. The aluminium base enhances this by producing the illusion that the paintings are lit from within. Walking past the works affects the way in which light is reflected back from this substrate, causing them to appear to subtly change their tones.
James Dignan, Otago Daily Times, January 30 2020