The Summer Exhibition 2020

The Summer Exhibition – Recently Released Works by Paul Yates. Online from July 1st

Twelve paintings feature in this exhibition. Extremely diverse in scale and subject matter these new releases from the studio of Paul Yates confirm the sheer originality and imagination of his work. 

Yates’s Patron, Lord Glentoran commented on seeing the works: 

“The genesis of Yates’s paintings varies greatly from brief, intensive manifestations to years sitting in a corner of the studio until perhaps just one or two additional brushstrokes ‘bring them into land’ as Yates is wont to say. 

Paul Yates does not have a style per se in his painting, poetry or film-making, his style is no-style, he responds intuitively to each creative impulse on an individual basis. The main characteristics of his works are that they are truly original, it is hard to imagine anyone else conceiving of his subject range or being able to paint, write about or film them in the way he does.”

Utterly unique in British art he has sustained an extraordinary creative output for over five decades now without ever seeking to be part of any arts mainstream. 

His works feature in important private and public European collections and are increasingly sought after by aficionados of the avant-garde.

The exhibition consists of twelve works:


triptych, each portrait 61cms x 45.7cms – 24 x 18inches, mixed media on boards.

Inspired by the robot GORT from the 1951, 20th Century Fox film, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. The triptych portrays GORT’s imagined children, all named after the control words, Klaatu, Barada, Nikto, spoken to GORT in the film to prevent him destroying the Earth. Whilst all three portraits are made in the likeness of GORT, each subtly suggests an individual personality. 


acrylics on canvas  –  123cms x 76cms – 48 1/2 x 30 inches 

A memory from the artist’s primary school days. One of three pupil trustees, the others being the Ink Monitor and Milk Monitor. The Chalk Monitor had the job the artist most envied; the ritual cleaning of the blackboard with a cloth and small bowl of water and was permitted to stand on a chair to reach the top of the blackboard and handle the giant wooden compasses, ruler and set square that rested on either side.


acrylics on board – 51cms x 40.5cms – 20 x 16 inches

Seemingly random blots and splashes of colour choreographed about the traditional format of a school exercise book page. Reminiscent of flower petals fallen by a summer wind to scatter into positions by chance they offer a visual metaphor for the process of creating haiku. This painting featured on the front cover of Yates’s recently released collection of haiku, LE MOT JUSTE. 


acrylics on canvas – 122cms x183cms – 48 x 72 inches

This painting depicts a mock wedding ceremony between two children witnessed by the artist when at kindergarten. The bold use of heavy charcoal is reminiscent of children’s crayon drawing and sets the tone of this work.


acrylics on canvas –  92cm x 92cms – 36 x 36 inches

Inspired by the artist’s chance encounter with scarecrow figures on the Ards Peninsula in Northern Ireland. Created from baling polythene, twine and plastic bags, once animated by the wind these figures took on the appearance of living things within the landscape. 


diptych – acrylics on canvas – 92cms x 183cms – 36 x 72 inches

Baling polythene snared on barbed wire fencing and brought to life by the wind takes on a new life as a constantly changing musical score.


acrylics on canvas – 77cms x 102cms – 30″ x 40″

The random placing of a cloak of black polythene and tarred baling twine about a fence post creates a distinctive member of the royal family of the fields.


sextet – acrylics on canvas – each panel 921cms x 122cms – 

overall 274cms x 244cms – 108 x 96 inches

The seemingly impossible act of walking through a physical wall is a metaphor for the challenges of the human condition. The figure is not rendered completely free of the wall, bringing to mind a phrase of Samuel Beckett’s concerning the creative process often quoted to me by Paul Yates, ‘fail again, fail better…’


acrylics on canvas – 102cms x 76cms – 40 x 30 inches

Ronda in Spain was a vital crucible for Yates’s imagination. Its light, scale and distances, inspired the series, THE ANDALUSIAN EFFECT. This painting portrays a scarecrow figure encountered on the road from Ronda to Marbella. A worn woolly jumper speckled with what might be dirt and flies formed the body, the arms were made from polythene sleeving that filled with air from the slightest wind and waved away the birds, the head was an upturned old black cooking pot, an irreverent crown for a king of the plains. 


acrylics on canvas – 91.5cms x 71cms – 36 x 28 inches

As young children the artist and his friends would attend their local cinema. Always short of money only one of them would buy a ticket and enter. After sitting for a while the ticket holder would go to the toilet and push open the fire doors to let in the rest of their friends free of charge. 

At the end of a screening they would rush as a group to exit through the same fire doors, bursting out of the darkness into the broad daylight. Viewed from outside the wide-open fire doors bore the words NOSMO on the left door and KING on the right door. 

The children imagined the words to be the name of the owner of the cinema, creating the mythical character NOSMO KING. When the doors were closed and viewed from inside the words written across both doors appeared as NO SMOKING.


acrylics on canvas – 183cms x 122cms – 60 x 48 inches

A piece of family folklore to discourage the eating of seeds that might cause stomach aches or worse. Within the fertile imagination of a child this folklore grew into a surreal vision.


acrylics on canvas 100cm x 100cm – 39 x 39 inches

Two ghostly female figures behind a watery veil of steam and condensation that suggests both sanctuary and exposure. A nebulous floating world in which these cloud maidens appear in and out of focus simultaneously.


triptych – acrylics on canvas – 30cms x 180cms – 12″ x 72″

In this study of a window blind in the Old Town of Marbella, Yates has isolated the bottom section of a worn, sun, sea and star seasoned window blind into a long narrow composition of three separate parts, effectively turning the blind into a landscape in its own right and capturing a distinct flavour of the mood and spirit of the locale.

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