R O M A N C I N G   A R T

Three years ago Artists Carol Coates met Tom Roth and it was, as they say, love at first sight - a meeting of the hearts and a shared passion for contemporary art.  They invited me into their lovely home and busy studio and it was a visual treat.

When I do a studio visit, I begin by just wandering and taking photos of vignettes and details that catch my eye; getting a feel for the spirit of the place.  Their house is divided into threes - private living space, open, light-filled  gallery and large working studio that they share. 

Their work is everywhere and although their creative styles are vastly different - Carol's wildly-layered and textured mixed-media paintings co-exist beautifully with Tom's minimalist, pure white-sculptural wall hangings. Judge for yourself....

C A R O L   C O A T E S

These three works from Coates' MIND'S EYE series of paintings at Tansey  Contemporary Gallery stopped me in my tracks. On one level  I simply loved the compositions; on another I was intrigued with the artists imaginative process in creating such crazy-wonderful images.

Courtesy of Tansey Contemporary Gallery

Q. The viewer's attention is captured by the glasses, what do they represent?

A. My work is humanistic; focusing on our moment to moment choices. Our choices are based, in part, on how we perceive situations. I welded/fabricated the 'glasses' out of found metal parts...

They relate to the lenses - of experience, desire and belief - through which we 'see'. I incorporated photos of the glasses with invented characters  in the painted, mixed-media pieces to prompt a visceral and empathetic response from the viewers.


What draws me to Coates' work is the visual layering and play of materials that create the whole. One piece caught my attention and I asked her about her process and materials in creating this beautiful work that has a decidedly holographic look and creates a sense of movement when you walk past.

A. CIRQUE is from the 'CONTACT SERIES' and is about choices we make in relationships. The process involves my photography, digital printing, piercing, and painting the imagery on separated layers of canvas and mesh. I construct LED panels to light the layers from behind.

Q. When did you know that you were an artist?

A. I knew that I loved being artistic at ten or twelve. 

Q. How would you describe Tom's work in one word?

A. Inventive!

T O M   R O T H

A beautiful control of texture creates a tryptych - Wind, Snow, Rain.

Tom Roth loves texture and to achieve his sculptural, vibrantly-white pieces, he uses a wild assortment of non-traditional materials. Here's what he said when I asked him about his materials and process.

A. My work is a continuous process; a constant creative experiment, one thing leading to another. I follow this path in a free flow of wonder and exploration. It is an unending and inspiring flow. It  takes me into different directions. 

The materials I use are almost always unexpected - plastic spoons and forks, fabrics, fishlines, styrofoam cups, plastic containers, hot melt glue, liquid nails, plastic sheets...The work is usually made for the wall and is almost always minimal, process-based and sculptural. 

Q. Your earlier work was in color; what influenced that transition to creating exclusively white pieces? 

A. Experimenting. I got interested to work more with light and textures. Color is in the way of that kind of expression.  

Q.  When did you 'know' that you were an artist?

A. When the kids in my kindergarten class admired my drawings and paintings. And when I was 20-years old, my work was accepted and shown at the National Museum of Art in Sweden. 

Q. If you could create a white wall or ceiling anywhere in the world, where would that be?

A. Tate Gallery, London.

P R I V A T E   G A L L E R Y

The contemporary gallery space that they have created in their home is open and inviting, and filled with their beautiful work. They use this space to view and think about their work, to hang works in progress, and to share finished work with prospective buyers from their gallery on Canyon Road, and to host special guests and collectors.

 T H E   S T U D I O

They share a studio space that is large and filled with easels, tables chock-a-block with materials and works in progress...

Q. You share a studio space; how does that work for you?

A. We work both together and independently. We help one another physically, creatively and emotionally, and share great mutual respect for the needs and boundaries of the other. We do very different work and being in the same space is very inspiring for both of us. 

Plastic bowls nailed to a wooden surface waiting to be
 swathed in  fabric...

Hot glue applied/dripped onto a grid-like fabric...

Q. Carol, you're working with metal now; why this new direction?

A. I started as a metalsmith and love its potential and presence. The challenge for me is finding a way to honor both the natural aspects of the materials AND the humanism of the image content. 

Thank you Carol and Tom for inviting me into your beautiful home/gallery/studio and sharing your work and life with me.

Carol and Tom's work can be seen at TANSEY CONTEMPORARY

652 Canyon Road  - Santa Fe


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