New Ways to be Alone. His work touches on fragments of life, details, simple motifs, still life, found imagery all distilled and rendered slower by the act of painting. Much of his latest work evolves from the setting up of small, intimate still lives. Although these paintings are devised and executed in the studio they also occupy a psychological space.
New Ways to be Alone
Paul Housley has sometimes described his work as the â€˜amplification of stillnessâ€™. Painting allows the artist to slow down the process of looking and seeing in order to produce something contemplative and involving. However he has also stated that most of what he considers to be his best work is executed quickly. There is a large amount of hard ground work that remains unseen to the casual observer: many paintings begin and fail only to be recycled into more successful work. Housley sees this as arriving at a painting through the destruction of others. In this way the process of painting is one continuous act with each new work started feeling like a fresh exploration.
His work touches on fragments of life, details, simple motifs, still life, found imagery all distilled and rendered slower by the act of painting. Much of his latest work evolves from the setting up of small, intimate still lives. Although these paintings are devised and executed in the studio they also occupy a psychological space. Their muted colours and loosely defined infinite space providing more an atmosphere than a definite setting. This coupled with the small scale, care worn anti-heroic nature of the artists chosen objects lend his work an uncanny quality; a place where collective memories and personal histories co-exist. These objects are familiar but through their rendering are elevated into a deflated iconic image. Housley does not set out to paint the mundane but wishes instead to attempt to depict the absurdities of life in the rendering of a simple still life; a small ceramic ornament, a discarded plastic soldier. The titles of Housleyâ€™s paintings offer the viewer directions towards a meaning.
In the painting â€˜Believe in meâ€™ the artist depicts a small ceramic cat staring blankly out with a look that suggests terror, sadness and forlorn longing. The title serves two purposes, referring to a totemic, fetishistic nature of the image. It seems to implore not only the viewer but the artist himself to believe; in the artist and the very act of painting. In â€˜Big Daddyâ€™, a painting sourced from an iconic photograph of Cezanne posing with his painting equipment the artist offers a homage and a reminder to the artist of the fundamental foundations of painting.
Wilkinson Gallery - 242 Cambridge Heath Road, (junction Hackney Road), London E2 9DA
Opening times: Thursday - Saturday 11 - 6 pm Sunday 12 - 6pm or by appointment