paul penketh

My paintings are a process of exploration. Abstract imagery allows me to create a personal language and communicate something unique to each viewer. I enjoy the forces of pushing and pulling the viewer’s eye through the composition: contrast within open access and a denial of entrance into the space appeals to me. There are no messages or hidden agendas, other than to reveal the discoveries made during my investigations and experiences within architectural spaces and structures.

I make reference to colour and structures encountered in my travels but not as images and not literally. My work is an interplay between my experience of contemporary life and the painting process itself, it involves trying to challenge myself while being open to the unexpected. Memories and previous experiences become fused with new questions that arise during the process. I admire and am inspired by painters such as John Walker, Howard Hodgkin & Mark Rothko.

I draw experimentally in sketchbooks in interesting spaces within places where I observe the transient moments of changing light and shadow on hidden often unnoticed spaces within buildings. I begin with these drawings in my studio but I am quickly directed by the work, answering the compositional and expressive needs and discovering solutions which brings me back to observing, experiencing, interpreting, storing and reflecting upon my discoveries.
My abstract paintings are experiential and aim to open up new ways in which we consume our surroundings. They are created with great energy and discipline and I present the viewer with the chance to explore my images. I work with layers of thick and thin colour, washed or stumbled over layers of paint and inks. Traces are left by assorted mark makers; lines are straight, curved or gestural, surfaces are wiped, dripped and spattered, all adding to an eventual sense of accumulation and the essence of time. Each layer I paint on a canvas becomes the history of its surface.

These layers accumulate and influence, yet not always overtly. Like theatrical flats they build. Working with acrylic paint, printing inks, spray paints & oil paints in layers, washes and glazes, I can explore the translucent quality of the top layers which reveal aspects of the painting's history. At other times, a thick impasto hides the past, yet it is there beneath the surface. Various brushes or rubbings with a piece of rag into previous layers, rubs paint off to expose what is underneath. I am searching to uncover thoughts and experiences evoked in the large, monumental, small and intimate building’s that I explore.

When a piece is working successfully, a visual rhythm develops between the elements in the work. I strive to find a pleasing balance between intuitive spontaneity and conscious composition. I apply colour, scale, shapes and texture, to create a multi-layered composition that offers the viewer numerous visual encounters. This idea of depth in an abstract painting serves as an opportunity for the viewer to connect with my painting on a familiar level. I want people to feel as if they know where they are in my paintings and that they can go anywhere.

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