Whether displaying beautiful, sublime landscapes and river bends, or colorful abstracts, Jerry Gates uses color, contrast and the richness of ever changing textures to capture a multitude of compositional possibilities. His work is a product of Jungian psychology and a familiarity with art, past and present, expressed with oil pastels.
Gates grew up in Bay City, Mich., where he took art classes all four years of high school. He says he felt fortunate that art was not only offered, but also encouraged.
He taught art in Elk Rapids, Mich., and received an MFA from Central Michigan University, the first person to graduate from Central’s MFA program. He then worked at Central as an assistant professor of art before returning to northern Michigan to work as a counselor — but he never stopped making art. He also taught art at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City and, upon retirement in 2005, began working with his art full time.
He mainly paints landscapes but doesn’t want to be known as a landscape artist. “I have attempted to capture both the beauty and the sublime,” he said. He likes “getting beneath the surface” with his work.