A winner of the Jerwood Award for Contemporary Making 2010 Gates’ London practice draws together a multi-stranded approach to designing and making. His work embraces functional expediency as well as exploring our relationship with the stuff around us. Carefully-made bespoke furniture, cabinet-work and tables, (the quality of which was recognised in winning the 2011 Wesley-Barrell prize) sit alongside rapidly made, seemingly functionless, intuited pieces. These aspects of his work at first sight appear disparate, but on further reflection are intimately connected, they are at a distance yet connected. His work at once celebrates and interrogates making, neither fetishising nor negating either hand or machine. Gates is a founder member of the artist-led collective, Intelligent Trouble, a trans-disciplinary project exploring the idea of the social production of work. Through working collaboratively in projects such as Intelligent Trouble Gates has found the avenues to explore materials and processes beyond his expertise in wood, particularly textile, metal and sound.
His thesis-based PhD research at King’s College London focuses on the communicative practices, narratives and discourses of craft practice. He has recently authored a chapter for the book Oral History in the Visual Arts. (Partington and Sandino, eds.)
He was a part-time senior lecturer at London Metropolitan University from 2002-2011 writing, supervising and delivering studio, workshop and theory aspects of furniture, product and craft courses.
Recent exhibitions include; Taking Time; Craft and the Slow Revolution, (2009-11) Intelligent Trouble at Contemporary Applied Arts (2010), Jerwood Contemporary Makers, (2010-11), Starting Points at the Siobhan Davies Dance Studios (2010), Host, San Francisco (2011) and The Tool at Hand, Milwaukee (2012).
Yes. I start with conversation and work through sketches, models, samples, drawings, and mock-ups to arrive at an agreed design.