Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Through the Keyhole - Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson lives and works in Hertfordshire. He produces his contemporary paintings from his 'outside' studio.

Paul says; 'Unfortunately my studio isn't much to look at, its basically a car port. I don't have reference material pinned to the walls as do many artists who have the luxury of a REAL studio but I do have a constant source of reference material just inside the back door - my house!' Paul has several paintings on the go at any one time and they feed off each other. In the winter it gets so cold that Paul has to keep going inside to warm his hands by the fire and look at the work from the window and in the summer flies stick to the paint! This is he says 'unavoidable - but maybe they will go down in history some day too!'

Paul moved to his home called South Lodge in March 1997. Before then he and his partner were living in rented accommodation. The house had all the character features they both wanted in a home; a five bar gate, an aga, an open fire, country views, large garden and tiled kitchen walls. Paul thought the house had enough room for an indoor studio but the kids had all the rooms instead. So, even though he could have painted indoors somewhere he decided to work outside.

'It had more space for me to make a mess and call my own. I do work inside from time to time but its mostly the thinking and drawing and sketching that happens here as I find the instant moment of a situation can be inspired by the simplest of things in my house. For instance I may be sitting by the fire and hear a news article on the TV that either interests me or infuriates me, usually to do with politics or religion or world crisis or war. I find comfort in the fact that I can put down my ideas immediately, separated from the media reality but also in the same reality.'

Paul sees his immediate surroundings running concurrent with the real world and a part of being in our modern society. One of the reasons he intertwines objects in his home with images that suggest or symbolise the things that are contemporary in society - be it war, religion, politics or just intrigue - is that he finds the two inseparable. Paul says 'I live in today's society so why shouldn't I paint about it? Its an immediate source, referenced by objects.'

Paul's home is full of incidentals! Eclectic ephemera collected and given. Splashed with the odd piece of store bought. A lot of the furniture is collected, recycled and decorated in a bohemian manner. Paul will strip a piece of furniture down paint it and add different bits or just leave something given to the family as it is. The house has a very lived in feel.

The objects that recur in Paul's work are everyday things from kitchen utensils, ornaments, floor tile patterns, fabric patterns, ceramic bowls, room settings and children's bath time toys to the living room overmantle with its odd array of crucifixes and pine cones. Other objects are collected and family memorabilia, such as russian dolls, bears, puppets and collected chicken ornaments all feature in his work. Any object from a pan to a Ringtons Tea caddy can appear on a canvas - they are the everyday essentials. They have a modern symbolism that Paul likes.

'I seem to relate objects with occurrences; for example a Peace Lily flower in a painting called Peace Time reflected my thoughts about suffering in modern political, religious struggles, this was accompanied by the image of the bible and a cross. But it was also a reflection on a room in the house - the bathroom where peace can be obtained - relaxing. It is the contradiction and association of disparate elements that I find enthralling and puzzling, even though they say something to me. I like to contradict images within my work.'
There are many rooms in Paul's house that he find endless inspiration from - t just depends on the time and situation. Paul says, 'At the end of the day my humble surroundings have led me to exhibitions in New York, Paris, Amsterdam and London. Who needs a real studio?'

Paul will be exhibiting and selling his work at the Brighton Art Fair in October.


Anonymous said...

Hey, I thought Id comment - thanks to Anne Marie for all your hard work in putting together these blogs and no one seems to comment. So come on comment!

Eu said...

We have a lean-to, much like yours, off of the rear of our home under which we store our many bikes. As we both draw and paint, now we are inspired to review and revise in the direction of an outdoor studio.!