Biography of Matthew Bates

Matthew Bates was born in Washington, D.C. in 1970 to an artistic family. His father, Stephen Bates is a professional clarinet and bass clarinet player in the Opera House Orchestra of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and is a talented abstract watercolor painter. His mother Isabella Bates teaches singing with an emphasis on healing meditative techniques, and his sister Jessica Bates is a theater actress who currently lives and works in New York City. Matthew attended the highly acclaimed Sidwell Friends School where in his senior year he won the art award and was captain of the Track team. 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 at Gonzaga University. This became the turning point in his life, As an artist and as a young man because Firenze changed everything for him. Before Italy, his paintings were abstract in style as he would let the watercolor flow onto the page, much like his father. Slowly, things began to change. In 1992 Matthew moved to Firenze, not as a student, but as a person who was looking for a radical change in his life. When he returned to Italy his paintings started to take on an ever more realistic style, until in 1995 he created Holy Water, this painting which defines his new technique of using photographs to get primary information for his paintings. This would be developed further in his later works, such as Notte, and Pitti Lillies.

In 1998 Matthew was introduced to the computer which would further help his developing style. By being able to create images on the computer before the start of a new painting, Matthew was able to see what a project would look like before the first brushstroke touched the canvas. In this way Matthew was able to make commissions for clients and show them his computer work-ups before the project started. This can be seen in such paintings as: Lucia, Tuscan Dream, Anne's Poppies, Singing Beach and Waterfall, all commissions that were begun with computer work-ups.

As the new millennium rolled around Matthew added a new aspect to his growing list of techniques by getting a digital camera. The digital camera has brought the use of photographs in his work to a higher level. With the digital camera Bates was able to take many more pictures and see them instantly, ever increasing the quality of his images. Now the creation of his realistic oil paintings was taking on even greater quality and the paintings began to take on even more details, and larger scale. Some examples of this are: Villa Cafaggio Still Life, Santa Trinità Bridge, and Piazza Frescobaldi .The last two represent Matthew's latest development which is the bending of space and time. By adding photographs together Bates creates an image which stretches reality with three perspective points to his image. For example, if you are looking, in real life, at one side of the Santa Trinità bridge, you cannot see the other side if you were to be standing in the exact spot where Matthew took his photographs, however in the painting we are able to see both sides at once due to the adding on of photographs from left to right. Matthew calls this technique "Magic Realism" because it allows us to see a realistic image in an magical context. It is as if we had three sets of eyes, spying on the world all at once. One of Matthew's latest paintings is called Campanile di Giotto. In no other painting is this new technique more pronounced, because Matthew took his photographs from only 20 meters away from the base of the tower. In this way, if you were there, and looking at its base you would not be able to see the top of the bell tower, but Matthew adds new dimension by bending space and time to include three perspective points So that we can also see the top of the tower.

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

Matthew is now 38 years old and his career is still in its beginnings. However if we look back at his 25 years of painting we can see that the development is that of a much older artist. Matthew is not afraid to use new technologies in his work while respecting the historic qualities that have been handed down to his through the ages. Firenze has been his greatest teacher, and Matthew is a good student. Matthew said: "Sometimes I can feel Michelangelo look over my shoulder while I'm painting and tell me that I can do better!"

Bates's Paintings can be found in private collections from Alaska to Venice, and he still is living and painting in Firenze to this day.

Selected Exhibitions:

1997 Artisans Gallery, Washington D.C.
1998 Watergate Gallery, Washington D.C.
1998-2000 Mannaioni Gallery, Firenze
1998 Piansa Gallery, Firenze
1998 Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.
2001 Ken’s Gallery, Firenze
2001 Florence Art Gallery, Firenze
2001 Art-E-Mail, Marbella, Spain
2002 Agora Gallery, New York City
2002 Art-E-Mail, Marbella, Spain

2002 American Consulate (Firenze, Italy)
2003 Enoteca Giraldi, Firenze
2004 Figaro Gallery, Annandale, Virginia
2005 Figaro Gallery, Annandale, Virginia

2006 Flowers That Last Forever - May 13 - June 11, 2006 - Figaro Gallery, Annandale, Virginia

2006 "Art in Progress" November 5, 2006 - Leonardo TV (Italian "Style" Channel)

2008 NEEL Gallery, Paris, France

2009 NEEL Gallery, Paris, France

2009 NEEL Gallery, Cannes, France

2010 Galerie Neel, Cannes, France

June 11 - 25, 2010 "Oltre La Prospettiva"("Beyond the Perspective")- (One Man Show) at Padaglione Berti - Sesto Fiorentino (Firenze)

October 2 -17, 2010 "Le Scatole nel Mondo - Il Mondo in una Scatola" in Palazzo Pretorio, Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze (Collective Show)

December 12-19, 2010 "Giuseppe Pescetti" - in Palazzo Pretorio, Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze (Collective Show)

December 15, 2010 "Le Scatole nel Mondo - Il Mondo in una Scatola" Theme: Reflections on Water in Palazzo Pretorio, Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze (Collective Show)

April 9, 2011 "Know Breast Cancer -March Madness " to benefit National Breast Cancer Prevention Project/Know Breast Cancer, Manchester, MA (Collective Show)

2011 Galerie D'Orsay, Boston, MA USA


Matthew Bates

Telephone: +39 055 483827

Cell. +39 3337996509

Visit Matthew Bates Galleries: Flowers - Still Life - Cityscapes - Landscapes - Statues - Email - Acrylic

©2011, Matthew Bates, Firenze Italy