press release

Wilkinson is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works in charcoal, felt tip, watercolour and oils by British painter Paul Housley.

Housley’s preoccupations within his practice consist of his innate interest in the language of paint coupled with the all too human need to make sense of and to understand the world around him. To this end his chosen methods of work provide the most direct response to these preoccupations: the depiction of a closely observed object through the physical medium of paint. The manipulation of base materials into something "resembling life" places Housley in a long tradition of European painting.

His work operates in a curious space between the two traditional genres of portraiture and still life. Indeed he often refers to the ‘portrait of the object’ in describing his own work, the starting point of which is always the close observation of an object, its texture, weight, colour and the play of light upon its surface. It often feels like the artist is attempting to communicate the reality of the object that perhaps the casual, reticent, observer may miss.

Housley tries to use objects that are easily recognizable and even commonplace, seeing this as a way of making the image universal. He does not attempt to communicate so much as a time and place but more of a moment where the object can exist. Recently he has started to craft his own objects from self-drying clay, sometimes painted, but frequently left white. This can be viewed as a natural progression in understanding and being intimate with the objects he paints. Although the objects take on many forms there is always a very human quality to his depictions of animals and birds and the artist acknowledges that the objects are something of a ‘dumb’ and ‘mute’ substitute depositary. With this in mind he always depicts his objects in what he calls a ‘manner of dignity’.

The title of the show ‘Some Have Eyes’ on one level refers to the returned gaze offered to the viewer by many of the objects depicted in the show, but secondly is, like many of Housley’s titles, at once prosaic and yet potentially oblique and even troublesome. The artist sees his titles as an honest depiction of his own attempts to understand exactly what it is he trying to paint and communicate, the titles being something of an ongoing internal debate about the meaning of the works. Overall the artist does not wish to tie down the meaning of the work to a single reading.

Paul Housley (b. 1964, Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, U.K.) lives and works in London. He received a MA from the Royal College of Art, London and a BA from Sheffield City Polytechnic. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Sunday, New York; Reg Vardy Gallery, Suderland; and the Norwich Art Gallery. He has participated in group exhibitions at the Walker art Gallery, Liverpool and Jessica Bradley Art and Projects, Toronto. He was artist-in-residence at Durham Cathedral in 2005, the same year as New Ways To be Alone, his last show at Wilkinson.

Paul Housley
Some Have Eyes