Best known for his paintings on canvas or panel, Bates is also prolific in sculpture and works on paper. His work explores the formal limitations of medium and is recognizable for its bold forms and dark outlines. Through both subject matter and style, Bates’ paintings clearly reference American Regionalism, and his still lifes frequently connect to modernists such as Henri Matisse. More than forty museums across the country house work by Bates in their permanent collections, including the Dallas Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Whitney Museum of American Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Lincoln, Nebraska, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the El Paso Museum of Art; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Bates continues to live and work in Dallas, Texas.