A master of color, Cote establishes himself as an artistic force to be reckoned with. A powerful painter Cote's overture places him with the likes of Julian Schnabel, Pollock, and Helen Frankenthaler. Yet, while Cote's paintings have the swirling energy of many abstract works, they also suggest something quite different: the murmuring of numerous voices beneath each layer....He references a moment when numerous artists used an exaggerated physicality to circumvent the emotionalism of Abstract Expressionism—from the Fontana's punctured can-vases to Dubuffet surfacing his with dirt. Cote's work takes us back to our very beginnings, before written laws, received wisdom, and force of habit, all but shackled our individual creativity and freedom of expression.
Cote's work impacts ours senses, awakens our emotional memory, and empowers us to see the universe and beyond. He teaches us that a painting should not end on the canvas. It should encourage viewers to create worlds of their own. And with each and every brushstroke, the work of Cote allows us to do just that.
Look for...the untrammeled passion of a natural born outsider who appears to wrestle each new composition into submission by sheer force of will...
Although his style is unique, perhaps his closest artistic relative is the Belgian painter, Octave Landuyt, another artist whose work probes the experienced aspect of inanimate nature through the working and reworking of what that artist calls "essential surfaces" and creating what critic Emily Genauer once referred to as not technical fireworks, but a symbolic skin containing the mysteries of life and death.
Cote comes across as an artistic cowboy, lassoing his forms with skeins of flung pigment like Buffalo Bill Cody on mammoth canvases that suggest the expansive scale of the Old West. At the same time - since Cote often embeds rocks, sea shells, crystals, screws, nails, masks, broken glass, old picture frames, and even whimsical 3-D figures of butterflies festooned with white feathers into his thick impasto surfaces - there's also a hint of the funky 1980's East Village found-object funk assemblage ala Julian Schnable and Jean Michel Basquiat in his explosive compositions. Add the Post Pop-Comic sensibility of an artist who cites “science fiction and the universe” as two of his major enthusiasms, the natural physicality of a kid who grew up playing hockey, baseball, and football, the aggressive spirit of an adult who has earned his living playing and teaching tennis and has trained as competitive bodybuilding - and you may get some idea of what we are dealing with here.