St. Helens Star

Artist Paul does a spot of interior decoration

A ST HELENS artist is giving ‘Kitchen Sink Realism’ a whole new meaning with an innovative exhibition over in Oldham.

Still life, in particular the objects found around the typical home, is a recurrent theme of Paul Critchley’s artwork; he is particularly skilled at arranging his subjects in creative ways to give his rooms personality, ranging from the bleak to the bright to the bizarre.

His latest project is set to bring still life not quite literally to life.

The installation features more than 50 paintings that work together to form one immense composition. Each image is a life-size painting of a usual household item; together they display the entire interior of a house.

“The installation didn't start out as it is now but as a set of individual paintings of objects in the house”, said Paul from Rainford, “I’d been painting doors and windows which can be opened, and was looking to develop that idea. I painted a wardrobe with the door and that gave me the idea to paint a sideboard with a mirror – I started painting typical household objects.

“During an exhibition in 2003 I saw them together – I had inadvertently created an environment.”

Unlike traditional paintings of an interior, this is a curious marriage of 2D and 3D; an artwork the viewer can actually step into and experience. Paul, whose father Harold was principal of the former St Helens College of Art and Design, spent nine years on the work alongside other projects; the oldest painting dates back to 2002.

He said: “Feedback so far has been positive, largely because it's not some obscure installation that appeals to the few. It’s accessible to many people – it’s a house, after all, and everyone understands it.”

Kelsey Pilkington



shaped painting by Paul Critchley

The Doctor’s Lunchtime Appointment, 150 x 175 cm