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Indepth Arts News:

"Generations of Art: From Abstraction to Realism - Matthew Bates and Stephen Bates"
2004-07-17 until 2004-07-31
Figaro Gallery
Annandale, VA, USA United States of America

Figaro Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition and sale of original oils and watercolors by Matthew and Stephen Bates. Matthew Bates has been painting for over 21 years. His experience has given him an appreciation for exploring new technologies in his work while respecting the teachings of history. Stephen Bates is a self taught painter whose formal training is in music.

Matthew Bates was born in Washington, D.C. in 1970 to an artistic family. At 18, Matthew left Washington to go to art school in San Francisco at the Academy of Art College. While there he learned many techniques in drawing, painting, and design.

After two years of Art College, Matthew decided to take a year-long course in Firenze, Italy and moved there in 1992. Before Italy, his paintings were abstract in style. Slowly, his paintings became more realistic and in 1995 his unique style immerged with Holy Water, a painting he created using photographs as the primary visual basis for the painting. Matthew continued to refine this technique in later works such as Notte and Pitti Lillies.

By 1998, Matthew was using computer-based tools to further visualize a piece before the first brushstroke touched the canvas. His clients were able to review a commission "work-up" before the project began. Commissioned paintings such as Lucia, Tuscan Dream, Anne's Poppies, Singing Beach and Waterfall were all created using computer-aided designs.

Technology continued to play a major role in Matthew's work as the advent of digital cameras allowed him to gather a greater wealth of photographic data for each subject. His realistic oil paintings took on an even greater quality, level of detail and larger scale. This can be seen in works such as Villa Cafaggio Still Life, Santa Trinità Bridge, and Piazza Frescobaldi. The last two pieces employed the use of several images of a single subject pieced together to form a perspective view. Matthew calls this technique "Magic Realism" because it allows the viewer to see a realistic image in a magical context. For instance, the perspective piece Campanile di Giotto allows the viewer to get a complete view of the tower from its base to the top, although an observer at the base of the tower could not capture this view in a single photograph.

Matthew's technique has also been molded by mathematical principals. In several of his paintings he has used Fibonacci Rectangles, or the Golden Ratio, to create the design of the painting. This technique was used to create Piazza Frescobaldi.

Firenze has been his greatest teacher. Matthew has said "Sometimes I can feel Michelangelo look over my shoulder while I'm painting and tell me that I can do better!"


Matthew is a Premiere Portfolio Artist at absolutearts.com. View more of his work at: http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/m/mattbates/

Stephen Bates currently plays clarinet in the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra where he has performed since 1973. Bates studied clarinet in New York at the Mannes College of Music and later at Cathollic University where he received a doctorate.

Stephen began painting in the mid 1970's creating watercolor "scores" which were performed by the Contemporary Music Forum, a group he co-founded. This experience inspired a set of paintings based on musical ideas of actual pieces of music. He is strongly influenced by Kandinsky whose work is related to music and Boccioni whose sculpture is oriented towards movement. Since the early 80's, Stephen's work has involved a good deal of cutting and distributing strips of paper, placing them in layers to imply musical harmony.

After meeting Edith Rieber, President of the American Scriabin Society, Stephen listened to several Scriabin pieces and portrayed them in watercolor-collage. Five of these works appeared behind the piano at Steinway Hall in New York during a recital of Scriabin's works. In this current show, there are three portrayals of music, two of Scriabin and one of Wagner.

Stephen Bates has exhibited at the Watergate Gallery, Artisans Gallery, Children's Hospital, Georgetown University Hospital, Rubinstein Gallery at Sidwell Friends and has created several works on commission.      

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