Gallery 13b – new space, new work by Josh Yates

The artist's 25 new drawings and paintings, primarily in oil but with some in watercolor and pastel, include Vineyard landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, and flowers. — Photo courtesy of Josh Yates

The Island’s newest gallery, called 13b, opens in Vineyard Haven on Columbus Day weekend, with an exhibit by artist Josh Yates, titled New Paintings and Drawings. The opening reception will be Saturday, Oct. 6, from 5 to 9 pm.

Mr. Yates says he named his exhibit space after its address on Beach Road Extension, opposite the Black Dog Tavern, where he worked when he first came to the Island in 1991. The artist’s 25 new drawings and paintings, primarily in oil but with some in watercolor and pastel, include Vineyard landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, and flowers.

Four paintings of pears command a prominent spot on the wall of the small exhibit space, which once housed the Louisa Gould Gallery. “In the winter I would just go to the grocery and grab a couple of pears,” Mr. Yates says. “Everybody paints pears, and you get to eat them.” Mr. Yates is an admirer of French post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne, who is famous for his still lifes of fruit. He also likes the work of Allen Whiting, Rez Williams, and the late Stanley Murphy.

Over the years, the artist has exhibited at a variety of places on the Island, including the Manning house in Aquinnah, the Duck Inn, and the former Lambert’s Cove Methodist Church. His portrait of the late Wampanoag medicine man, Napoleon Madison, hangs at the Aquinnah Shop. Gallery 13b represents his first in-town, down-Island exhibit space and the first one of his own in 10 years.

“I’m hoping it will make my work more accessible,” he says of the new location. “It’s a little off the beaten path, so I’m more comfortable than I would be on Main Street.”

Like so many wash-ashores, Mr. Yates came to the Vineyard for the summer, fell in love with the Island, and made it his permanent home. “I didn’t find my subject until I came here,” he says about his painting.

Over the years, he has supported himself as a carpenter and architectural designer. He ran a camp for children, taught as part of West Tisbury’s summer program, and also taught art at the Charter School. Painting has been his passion since his youth. Although he calls himself self-taught, he has taken courses at Rhode Island School of Design and attended the Tom Maley life classes at the late artist’s home.

Before moving to the Island, Mr. Yates worked as a guard at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Except for the polyester uniforms, he enjoyed spending his days in the museum, educating himself about its collections. He especially appreciated that if he got there early enough he could pick the room he wanted to be in.

“For me, it’s about making the paintings,” Mr. Yates says. “It’s like my meditation.” He gets out two or three times a week, weather permitting, to paint plein air. Some of his paintings end up serving as studies for larger, more compositionally complex works that he finishes indoors. One detailed watercolor depicts the intersection of North Road with State Road in North Tisbury. A large oil painting captures the Oak Bluffs shoreline from the Steamship Authority dock.

“I’m an explorer. I’ll go out with my box and go to places I’ve never been to before and never seen before,” he says.

Starting Friday, Oct. 5, Gallery 13b will be open alternate weekends from 1 to 9 pm, also by chance and by appointment, until Christmas. For information, call 774-521-8082.

Josh Yates: New Paintings and Drawings, Gallery 13b, Beach Road Extension, Vineyard Haven. Opening Reception on Saturday, Oct. 6, 5–9 pm. For information, call 774-521-8082 or email