About the Artist
Born in Rochester New York, painter Sharon Yates received a BFA from Syracuse University and an MFA from Tulane University. She taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art for many years, and directed MICA ‘s summer landscape program in Canada. Her paintings have been exhibited nationally and won her several awards including the Prix de Rome, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Grant and the Shatalov award at the National Academy, where she is an academician member. Recent exhibitions include National Academy Museum and School, New York, NY; Maine Farmland Trust, Belfast, ME; Whistler House Museum of Art, Lowell, MA; LC Bates Museum, Hinckley, ME; Frost Gully Gallery,Freeport ,ME; Northern Tides Gallery, Lubec, ME; University of New England, Portland ,ME; Bowery Gallery,NYC; First Street Gallery, NYC; Dowling Walsh Gallery, ME; Zeuxis Traveling Exhibition (Prince Street Gallery NYC; MICA Baltimore,MD); June Fitzpatrick Gallery, ME; Colby College Museum of Art ,ME, and Center for Maine Contemporary Art Rockport,ME. Public collections include: Bates College Museum of Art, ME.; University of Alberta. Canada; National Academy, NYC; Yale University Art Gallery; Oklahoma City Art Museum; United Technologies; University of Louisville, KY; Tides Institute, Eastport ME; and University of Maine at Machias. Her work is published in two books by Alan Gussow: "A Sense of Place. The Artist and the American Land" and "Artist as Native: Reinventing Regionalism", and in American Artist Magazine's Feb 2011 issue. She lives and works in Lubec, ME. A nice discussion of the artist's cow paintings can be found on the blog Painting Perceptions.
ARTIST'S STATEMENT "Painting outdoors directly from nature has been in my blood from early on. Years ago, I phased out coastal motifs while I was overtaken by two new subjects, cows and flowers that I paint in relation to the landscape. The changing light and weather always a given, was a mild introduction to the logistical challenges of cows on the run and peony bouquets flapping in the wind. Perfect for me. I am not interested in anything too convenient or predictable. Positioning myself low to the ground and seeing the cows close up I experience their powerful anatomy and movements no matter how slight. Usually I prefer to paint a cow in the foreground countered by others grazing the distance. Cows are enchanting, comical and the wild card igniting the woods, pastures and barnyards that I would not paint without them. Aesthetic decisions come and go; wet spots, manure, fences and ‘where the cows are' can be determining factors. Peonies emerged on impulse one summer day. Suddenly fascinated by the various stages of bloom and decay I placed them in a glass jar of water careful to not rearrange what was a mini landscape. The transforming wind and changing light inspired me to paint life size bouquet images close up with their color nuances, textures and reflections – bringing me into a new realm of painting outdoors. These subjects intensify the immediacy of my experience in painting outdoors. The notion of ‘copying nature' and using preliminary sketches and photographs are not part of my process. I prefer a direct spontaneous interpretive response to what is happening before my eyes. "