Meadowlark Gallery: The Artist Biographies

Gayle B. Tate
Gayle B. Tate is a modern day master of the genre known as "trompe l'oeil," a French phrase meaning 'trick of the eye'. His careful detailed paintings of cards, letters, money and related subjects reflect the influence of 19th century masters William Harnett and John Frederick Peto. His work today can be grouped loosely with other neo-realists, whose paintings emphasize precise details, complex formal arrangements, and traditional glazing techniques. Many viewers cannot resist the impulse to touch his works to "see if they are real."

As with most neo-realists, Tate broadens the perspective of previous generations of artists by injecting both contemporary subject matter and diverse atmospheric and illusionistic effects. The resulting paintings inspire a sense of wonder at the artist's skillful ability to deceive the eye. However, unlike other neo-realists, Tate chooses to work with the most difficult subjects. He is one of a few living artists able and willing to master the techniques necessary to portray objects in the tradition of the great American 19th century trompe l'oeil artists.

Tate works very slowly and takes weeks and sometimes months to complete a painting. The artist switches back and forth between three sets of magnifying lenses set into his eye wear in order to create the minute detail of his images. Understandably Tate is only able to complete a small number of oil paintings each year.

Tate believes that art is about perception and that Americans, despite their diverse backgrounds, have drawn together unanimously in a view of art and life that reflects the pioneering spirit which tamed a rugged and unchartered land. For Tate, the American character combines austerity, truthfulness and integrity. He sees his style of vigorous realism as working in harmony with the attitudes and energy that founded this land. As a painter he strives to embrace, but also to grow out from, his uniquely American roots.

Gayle B. Tate's educational and work history is both impressive and eclectic. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University and later owned and directed Tate Galleries in Tampa and Tallahassee from 1967 to 1983. Since 1973 he has studied 19th and 20th century painting and lectures on painting processes and concepts, focusing on the relationship between Christianity and the arts.

View high resolution images of works by Gayle B. Tate when available.