Marcus Coates was born in London in 1968, and is well-known for his photography and video works. The viewer of his work is often left unsure as to Coates' convictions, as his art oscillates between comedy and a proposition that art can be restorative. In this way, Coates plays with notions of "the genuine", sincerity and validity in actions, evoking ranges of responses from mental attempts to explore complicated cultural themes, to basic emotional reactions to the ambiguity of possibly being lied to or mocked.
Coates' British Moths series of twenty four silver gelatin prints demonstrates the artist's attempts to channel the spirits of twenty four species of moths. By applying shaving foam to his head and torso, Coates presents a ritualistic process of transformation that runs parrallel to the daily morning ritual of shaving. The series of photographs details the process undertaken by Coates of 'becoming animal'. Through forms of mimickry and disguise Coates allows transformative processes to take over conventional modes of normality, allowing for an image which alludes to the form and essence of a moth rather than a pictoral representation.
Coates appeared in the Tate's 2009 Altermodern exhibition, curated by Nicholas Bourriaud, who coined the term (applying aptly to Coates) to represent the trans-cultural, hyper-communicative works of contemporary artists living and working in today's world of globalisation and translation.
Marcus Coates is represented by Workplace Gallery, UK, www.workplace.co.uk