About Artist

Charlie Yates


We all know memories fade, but what does the breakdown process look like? In Charlie Yates’s work, all stands still just long enough for us to peer at the semblance of time amid its washing away. In muted and blurring colour, old photographs sourced from the 50s to 70s are recreated in new ways, often redolent of sun-bleached holidays, busy communal establishments, and an air of wistful delight. In “Café del Mar” (2019), an interior coagulates almost like bleach spots on dark fabric, with pale blues and yellows glowing amidst waves of brown that hold the painting together. Faceless figures become part of the infrastructure itself, peeping out as both anonymous but integral to the formative scene at hand. Elsewhere navy intersects with red in the dramatic “George Street” (2020), nodding to historic urban painting and the chronicling of a city’s history. 

At times this body of work really speaks summer to us: capturing the sun’s incredible effects on colour, of bleaching and making vivid. These prismatic scenes are imbued with a muted sense of wonder. As the review notes, sometimes Yates works from photographs. His paintings have that quality of looking at the past: the opacity of memory. The toning and shading give the effect of a partially screened lens, funnelling our vision through time. These paintings are ambiguously of a place and time – but this is precisely what the painter uses to make these works believably of a place and time. He harnesses, with aplomb, the beguiling mood of nostalgia: the longing for places half-real, half-imagined.

Artist Statement

My name is Charlie and I am a Scottish painter based in Glasgow. Having graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2019, I currently became one of the youngest partnered artist of the Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh displaying works along side established artists such as Barbara Rae.

My work is based on themes of nostalgia and memory, seen through the choices of limited and muted colour palettes and deliberately vague and blurred imagery, all representative of how memory will fade with time. Having sourced reference imagery from my old family and found photographs of the 50’s to 70’s the colours are also fitting with the ageing and sun bleaching of photographs, and the limited abilities of coloured photography of the time.

Despite being irrefutably inspired by the art, I want portray timelessness within the candid moments, producing works that can inspire viewers to reminisce on their own experiences through relatable scenes of the everyday. I want the viewers to make connections to their own memories and not to enter the conversation of politics of the time period, but rather to remain a reflection upon  the simpler times of childhood and youth.

Charlie Yates

Zephr, XXI Century

Charlie Yates

10 × 11.4 in | 25.5 × 30 cm

Pike’s Hotel, XXI Century

Charlie Yates

5.9 × 9.1 in | 15 × 23 cm

Pont du Guard, XXI Century

Charlie Yates

5.9 × 8.3 in | 15 × 21 cm

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