LondonMikey Yates - Love Letters
Taymour Grahne Projects is pleased to present Love Letters, the first UK solo show by Filipino American artist Mikey Yates, opening at the gallery’s Notting Hill space.
Exhibiting all newly commissioned works, Yates’ intimate paintings serve as love letters to his family and friends, capturing transient moments of togetherness in a time recently characterised by separation and loss from the pandemic. Storytelling through portraiture, Love Letters explores the material and emotional imprints people leave on the places they inhabit and vice-versa, as he encapsulates the shades of home comfort and illuminates the mundane.
Each painting is inspired by a distinct place; majority of works have been conceptualised in different American states whilst one painting recalls Yates’ last time spent in the Philippines. Reflected in Yates’ own upbringing within an itinerant military family, regularly moving between states, countries and continents, the patchwork nature of multiple cultural influences is symbolised by the varied objects that form one home. In Coffee and Cassava Cake with Mom in Texas, Yates depicts his mother in her sitting room just before moving to another place for the military. Setting the room with the same coffee table, floral patterned chair, and grandfather clock wherever she travels, these objects harbour a normalcy soon to be upended.
Works are composed from memories and snapshots of Yates’ loved ones in everyday, domestic situations. Depicting moments of tenderness, these soft, peaceful interior scenes contrast the hard exterior associated with military life. A visual diary of his experiences, Yates colours these memories with the feelings each snapshot elicits. Recognising these images as fleeting, portraits as Christmas in California, Auntie Nen’s Apartment capture the buzz of family in an instance aligned with consistency and unity; this LA family apartment remained the only constant throughout the artist’s nomadic life.
Alternatively, serene portraits as Olyvia & Zu, Kansas City contrasts cool interior tones with bright exteriors, visible through the window, as the artist captures his wife in a moment of respite from unpacking in their new home.
Whilst Yates’ paintings partly act as mementos of intimate moments, these works also gesture towards the powerful relationship between people and place, via “the stories places tell about people and the stories people tell about places (Yates)”.
Mikey Yates (b.1992, Sulzbach Rosenberg, Germany) grew up moving from place to place with his family of six, his parents both serving time in the military. Mikey has a BFA from Missouri State University and has recently completed an MFA at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has been featured in BOOOOOOOM!, YNGSPC & Friend of the Artist, and was selected for the MFA annual issue of New American Paintings, curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody. He lives and works in Kansas City, USA.
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)