We are pleased to announce our first solo show with Paul P.
This exhibition continues the artist’s profound history and presence in New York. Paul P. has been known to local and international audiences for his intimate paintings inspired by a milieu of gay subculture of the near past and by sites and places charged with cultural and social longing central to the history of innuendo. Recently Paul P. has introduced significant new genres and practices to his work, – delicate furniture pieces, rugs with the appeal of abstract paintings, monochromatic décor paintings, abstracted collages, all of which inhabit the gallery space for this show, forming an all-encompassing aesthetic interior.
In a parallel exhibition environment at the 2014 Whitney Biennial Paul P. introduces a new suite of ink on paper works drawn from life after 19th century sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum – a bust of a bacchante, the feet of a martyr, a sleeping boy – some of which are later accentuated in the artist’s studio by dramatic washes of ink creating an animating play of shadow or radically obscuring the original pristine muteness of the museum’s object with dark undertones.
A new agent in Paul P.’s practice are his furniture pieces inspired by pioneering British 19th century designer and architect E. W. Godwin. Paul P.’s ultra delicate mahogany tables and desks are functional to a certain extent while belonging to the realm of minimally mannerist sculpture. There is an allegorical nature to the furniture, “attaching itself to literature and aestheticism and in that process alluding to certain lives lived”*.
In our gallery show the artist presents a high slim table and an ensemble of three low tables positioned on a pedestal structure of gently ascending steps accentuating the space like an almost ‘natural’ extension of the architecture. In between and next to these aesthetic ensembles two rug pieces occupy the floor. The rug designs are based on collages created from fibrous paper overlaid with gouache and ink. Organically ruptured color field compositions in these collages are built up by layers of torn paper lending a strangely painterly quality. The rugs are elegantly enlarged interpretations of these intimate abstractions, adding the altogether distinct material quality of functional domestic design. And yet – like Paul P.’s new furniture pieces – the rugs are independent sculptural agents. They can appear as abstract ‘paintings’ in the form of tapestry, as much as they can inhabit a given floor space as carpets with patterns based on the artist’s unique creations.
Another group of new work are a series of monochrome yellow canvases, each of which is individually framed by a wooden construction reminiscent in style to the mahogany furniture pieces. This set of airy works looks like a contemporary take on the 1860s fashion for Japonaiserie, their artistic reference unquestionably shifting between painting and interior.
Paul P. describes his vision of this exhibition as a climate of sensuality:
“Low mahogany tables, woven woolen rugs, and paintings, are laid and oriented in an attitude of expectancy. Aspects of their forms and arrangements allude to a psychic inhabitation by other lives-lived. A visual cue for a room, an in-between space belonging not necessarily where it is or elsewhere, then or now, though through its innuendo approximates a few things. To take it in faith that these works have their origins in sensuality is a part of the enterprise, that they are oblique confers onto them a dandy’s historical mix of the coded and the aesthetic and underlines a separation from function which marks these objects. In this sense the exhibition is a climate, and in essence refers to that which is next to, not away from. A subtle proximity that within my painting practice has motivated a movement in representation from portraits towards figures in interiors, to landscapes and their abstractions, now encompassing the spaces of the gallery rooms.
The small table is the idea of a table, an island that awaits alighting upon; for a letter or a vase placed by an imagined hand. The configuration of the tables has a temporal spaciality, the slender lines and their interstices are mechanisms against which to take measure of an activated attenuated environment (the cast shadow, the daylight or lamp light, the viewer’s approach). A series of yellow monochromes within their particular mahogany frames refer variously to windows (a lit window seen from without, or else through a window opening onto the light seen from a darker within). (…) The images woven into the two rugs laid on the gallery floor are abstracted from these effects, creating an exuberant, libidinal design.”