Paul Critchley has shown his paintings in various exhibitions in England. These exhibitions include "ICA YOUNG CONTEMPORARIES" London and the second International Art Fair, also held in London. In 1984 he was elected a member of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts after being awarded the Academy's top prize. Since September 1985 he has lived in Berlin and in the South of France. He has now been living in Holland for six months.
During these two years he has painted the paintings for this exhibition. In them, the painter tries to depict an overall environment - a series of views on a canvas. However, the depiction of such a panoramic view inevitably leads to a distortion of perspective, i.e. of space and scale. From these distortions, together with a realistic rendering of the subject, semi-surrealistic images can emerge, especially when familiar objects play an important role in the stories depicted.
Although the painter used a more conventional base of squares and rectangles in his earlier paintings, these constricted forms led to a natural evolution of the notion of using a designed format where the combination of space, scale, colour and tone promote a more homogeneous body of work. This exhibition presents a number of works that have been given an extra dimension through a mixture of the actual building structure and the painted illusion.
Works of art by Paul Critchley at Haus Hildener
Three dimentional construction and painted illusion
Hilden - Rooms - surroundings with their atmosphere and at times their occupants - these form Paul Critchley's theme. The Brit , who in 1984 became a member of The Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, worked for years on the idea of their portrayal. Examples of work which show how the artist has accomplished his intention of presenting surroundings as extensively as possible are presently being exhibited by Paul Critchley in the “Haus Hildener Künstler“.
Through his oil paintings on canvas and his three dimensional cardboard constructions the exhibitor demonstrates series of views which are seen from various angles. Realistic observations, subjective experiences and at times recollections (for instance, associations with the compositions of the Old Master) are all combined here. Paul Critchley designs his totally unconventional and imaginative formats in such a way that they are in tune with the rooms he is portraying, the angular staircases, the Berlin bar lay-out, the Dutch interior. It is first and foremost these formats in a combination of space, dimension and colour (often producing subtle, shadow-like tones) which make the creation of a harmonious composition possible.
Initial uncertainty and surprise at the sight of such unusual formats, as well as the distortion and alienations of the perspective, gives way to the sheer enjoyment which one experiences through looking and discovering anew more and more realistically interpreted details. Paul Critchley's paintings are therefore not ultimately pleasing just because they tell stories; here events of the day simply appear, spatial boundaries and sequences of time are broken by the refined synopsis.
In some works the exhibitor introduces eye-catchers, playful gags. For instance, in the Dutch Interior he produces interchangeable window views in the form of blooming tulip fields and brightly coloured windmills: exchangeable pictures which amuse and more over give variable ambiance and atmosphere to the overall composition. In other pictures it is the cut our door slit or the natural fall of the light in a staircase, that joint effect of three dimensional construction and painted illusion which stirs the observer and reveals an additional creative dimension.
The degree of importance played by this spatial effect is illustrated by conventional framed watercolours; as it were, miniatures of the large format which Paul Critchley is showing chiefly in the second room of Haus Hildener Künstler.