UPSTATE Gallery on Main

Paul Yanko

Standing Migrating Sheltered Merged

November 15 – December 28, 2019

Artist Reception: Thursday, November 21 from 5-8 p.m.

UPSTATE Gallery on Main, sponsored by the University of South Carolina Upstate, is honored to announce “Standing Migrating Sheltered Merged,” recent paintings by Paul Yanko. The exhibition opens on November 15 and runs through December 28, 2019. An artist reception will be held on Thursday, November 21 from 5-8 p.m. during Spartanburg ArtWalk.

Paul Yanko’s sensuous and immensely satisfying paintings draw the viewer into a labyrinth of both complexity and caprice. Densely and brightly layered, architectonic yet playful, simultaneously lucid and oblique, the language of painting that Yanko has developed in his fine art practice over the course of his career is instantly recognizable as uniquely his own. A defining continuity in Yanko’s work is the relationship of substructure and superstructure, both as painting process and as metaphor for growth, discovery, and the lamination of time.

“In this body of work I returned to the activity of pouring paint on flat surfaces as a way of establishing loosely organized networks of line and shape as a starting point, something to react to,” says Yanko. “More recently, I’ve allowed for more ‘slippage’—leaving things in a more raw, less refined state. Terms like ‘irreducible complexity’ are also intriguing; on past occasions, engaged viewers have remarked on associations to fractal imagery. I need color, shape and surface to arrive at a certain level of complexity that is satisfying and balanced—ideally, the viewer can engage with the work over an extended period of time, through multiple points of entry. In my recent work a reoccurring cast of characters—pyramids, open A-frames, unfurled fern starts—are featured in a more pronounced way. This takes me away from pure abstraction and back to an in-between area that I am more interested in at this time. Kitaj and his use of symbolism was an early influence of mine, along with Paul Klee for similar reasons.”

Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Paul Yanko has been teaching since 2004 in the Visual Arts Department at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, South Carolina. He received an M.F.A. in painting from Kent State University in 1995 and a B.F.A in illustration from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1991. While residing in Ohio, Yanko exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions at institutions including the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art and the McDonough Museum of Art. In 2002 he was the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Grant. His work is included in private and public collections including the Cleveland Clinic, The Greenville County Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Carolina Collection at MUSC in Charleston, SC.

For more information about Paul Yanko, please visit his website:

The UPSTATE Gallery on Main is the newest addition of the Upstate Carolina University’s three gallery spaces. Located at 172 E. Main Street in Spartanburg, it is a dedicated art space that presents rotating exhibitions of regional and national artists. The gallery also houses and periodically displays the university’s permanent art collection, including works by Andy Warhol, Jerry Uelsmann, Jack Tworkov, and Beatrice Riese. The gallery is primarily staffed by students as part of an ongoing internship program where they learn how to display, research, and promote the work on exhibit in the gallery. It is open to the public five days a week (Tuesday-Saturday) from 12 noon until 5 p.m. More about the UGoM can be found on its Facebook page, UPSTATE Gallery on Main, or by calling Jane Nodine, Gallery Director at (864)-503-5848.


Jane Nodine, Gallery Director
Mark Flowers, Gallery Coordinator
University of South Carolina Upstate
Visual Arts Center 125
800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303
P: 864-503-5848
F: 864-503-5835