The Black Coat Project began a s a simple notion that was produced by a sensory
reaction. A number of black coats were acquired as costume pieces for a chapter of
The Journey Project, entitled, The Gateʼs Of Heaven. One coat stood out from the rest in
its pure luxury and sensual quality. I pondered the idea of whether or not a complete
project might be ignited by this one single article of clothing.
By choice I made everything as simple as I possibly could, eliminating everything but the
coat a woman and a pair of shoes. The coat and shoes became a uniform. From painting to
painting they remained constant and unchanging amplifying the unique beauty of each
woman. The women are not idealized clones. Their beauty is represented as it exists in real
life. Itʼs is the individuality of each woman and how she responded to the coat that is
As a narrative artist my fist challenge was to completely eliminate the narrative element from
this new body of work. Without my interference the experience of bringing together woman
and artifact would reveal itʼs purpose and support itʼs artistic merit. To create beautiful
images is in itself a sufficient motive for making art. There are, as I have proven constantly
over my career, many other levels that can be interwoven into a painting or series of
paintings that enrich itʼs value. The beauty is not optional but is a necessary constant as is
truth and sincerity and passion.
In the past I have conceived and constructed my projects as vehicles to support socially
relevant narratives. Many of which have dealt with difficult and disturbing material. In the case
of The Black Coat Project I have challenged my own methods of creating a theatre in which
to support the idea by allowing the object itself to suggest itʼs purpose. The fist year of
The Black Coat Project has been dedicated to following itʼs inspiration and overcoming the
logistical obstacles in itʼs translation from idea to physical form. During this time, bit by bit the
tiny pieces of a much bigger picture were presenting themselves to me.
Over my my more than 25 year career working with countless women I have developed
wonderful friendships with many of them. During that time I have learned more than I
expected and wished to about the physical and psychological abuse of women. This was
not a feature of The Black Coat Project when I first started though I cannot say that it did not
lurk deep in my subconscious.
In working with the women who now represent the first phase of the Black Coat Project I
spent many hours with them. Not outlining my grand artistic vision and what function they
would supply to it because they had no function. The were the entire point. Instead I asked
and listened and observed to best understand who each of them were as individuals. This
crystalized the potential of the Black Coat. What is represented in the first 15 paintings is a
disturbing proportion of these women that are or have been victims of abuse.
It is from this that the Black Coat Project takes itʼs purpose. Not as a Narrative vehicle but a
symbol of this specific social crime that is committed against millions of women every
minute of every day. The ambition of The Black Coat is to first be art. An Exploration and a
celebration of female beauty. In conjunction with womenʼs groups and organizations It can
also provide a tangible means of providing awareness of this social injustice and financial
support to those working on the front lines.