William Blake wrote of the possibility of seeing, 'a world in a grain of sand'; Robert Bates miniature works are not quite so microcosmic but equally open up a vista of possibilities. The minute scale, achieved readily in water-colour and applied with fine-stranded sables, is in itself an object of beguilement. Size does matter; a work no bigger than a postcard literally focusses the act of perception and invites the viewer into an Alice-in -Wonderland world where things seem 'curiouser' and more intense. Familiar scenes of County Kerry or the darker themes of urban landscape appear subtly changed, more magical but not naive. As with the works of Palmer, Spencer, Nash or Hopper that have lent inspiration, there is a brooding, uneasy quality attempting to capture a fleeting moment in a never-predictable world. Bates work has a depth that needs more than one keyhole viewing to appreciate.
Born in 1943, Robert is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, London. He has had two solo exhibitions at the Molesworth Gallery and a further twelve at Lumley Cazalet Fine Art in London. His work is included in many major public and private collections, including the Arts Council and the British Museum. Robert Bates has lived and worked in Co. Kerry for 25 years.