Curator’s Column: Stephanie Silva on Trate’s New Exhibition ‘Emotive Brutes’

Emotive Brutes, opening on 7 February, is a collection of large-scale figurative works in oil which will be exhibited at Trate Studios, a recently opened gallery and artist studio housed in a spacious 1920s warehouse overlooking Regent’s Canal in East London.

The exhibition brings together a dozen evocative paintings by the Canadian artist Trate, which chronicle the human condition through a raw, hauntingly intuitive aesthetic.

‘Emotive Brutes depicts us, at our best and worst’, says Stephanie Silva, Curator and Art Director at Trate Studios. Through vivid contrasting colour schemes, visible brush strokes and reimagined physical traits, the paintings capture the fleeting enlightened states that we all seek and the baser natures that too often define us as humans.

‘I was instinctively drawn to Trate’s striking canvases the first time I saw them and  was intrigued by his persona as an artist who had passionately honed his craft for two decades, only recently making the conscious decision to exhibit his work in public,’ says Stephanie.

Accessible and direct, yet open to interpretation, the paintings in the exhibit will leave no one indifferent; ‘Trate’s work tends to be met with either outright dismissal by those who have no time for slightly disturbing childlike figures staring back at them, or intense interest by those with a guttural appreciation of unadulterated expression’, notes Stephanie.

The paintings are hung in a uniquely personal gallery space. While Trate paints under an alias, retaining an element of privacy, he engages in active dialogue with visitors at the gallery and the warehouse space is defined by personal touches from his life, including a massive solid-oak carpentry workbench made by his grandfather in Montreal in the 1930s and his eclectic vinyl record collection, which is constantly on rotation.

Stephanie Silva is Curator and Art Director at Trate Studios. Emotive Brutes will exhibit from 7 February to 2 March 2019 at Trate Studios, 45 Vyner Street, London E2 9DQ (Thu-Sat, 12–7pm). For further details see:

IMAGE: Sanctity, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 150cm x 90cm © Trate