Visual Intelligences Research Project

Exhibitions : Inspiration To Order : Paula Kane

Oil on canvas
91 cm diameter

Paula Kane, studio wall, installation,WCA Gallery

Paula Kane was born in Glasgow in 1970. She completed her undergraduate studies at Kent Institute of Art and Design and her MA at Goldsmith's College, University of London leaving in 1996. Her solo exhibitions include Emily Tsingou Gallery, London, UK (2004 & 2006) Musee des Beaux Arts de Mons, Belgium (2003) Appelboom, Corez, France 2003, Galleri Wallner, Malmö, Sweden (2000) and Galerie Zurcher, Paris, France (1999). Group shows include APT Gallery, London; Bloomberg Space, London; Oliver Kamm 5BE Gallery, New York; Emily Tsingou Gallery London; Pepinieres Artists 2002, Graz; Arnolfini, Bristol; The Jerwood Gallery, London; John Moores Exhibition 20 21 & 23, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; The Tannery, London; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; Vamiali's, Athens, Greece; Andrew Mummery, London; European Parliament, Strasbourg. Paula has been awarded a number of artist's fellowships including a Henry Moore Fellowship at The Byam Shaw School of Art, London, a Pepinieres Award, Belgium, and the Abbey Award for Painting at the British School at Rome. Paula teaches at Camberwell College of Arts, and The Byam Shaw School of Art, both colleges of University of the Arts, London. She has also lectured at The Royal College of Art, Goldsmiths College and The Royal Academy. Catalogues Paula Kane include; 'Freefall', Arts Council, England; 'The Valley', Bloomberg Space, London, UK; 'Paula Kane', La Lettre Volee, Belgium; 'The John Moores 23', (also 21 and 20), Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK. She lives and works in London where she is represented by the Emily Tsingou Gallery.

Artist's Statement on Process

I make paintings of imaginary landscapes. Within the traditional framework of landscape painting I choose to explore and quote from this known genre and its many varied, received languages. I use this vast lexicon of often forgotten information to both salvage and sabotage the material.

I act as an urban, cultural tourist, cherry picking and filtering a wide range of information gathered from the ‘real’ world of nature and from landscape images that are both high and low art sources. From within this genre I can toy with a variety of languages of depiction.

I create awkward spaces and problems within the image as a means of initiating strategies for retrieving the image without allowing it to move too far into any fixed category of interpretation. I therefore attempt to play off one pictorial language against another.

I wish for the paintings to be picturesque yet sublime, familiar yet unknowable, fecund yet empty and naive but complex. The paintings are finished when they hover among several camps, never settling in any fixed territory.

In order to make a painting I need to gather much visual source material, including reproductions of paintings and drawings (both famous and obscure), photographs taken by me on walks and holidays, I also make drawings from a variety of sources. These starting points then get processed, distorted and rearranged in further drawings and painted sketches.

I then make a number of rough drawings in which I attempt to construct a composition for a larger more complex image. This will comprise of a largely imaginary space populated by a number of incongruous inhabitants gathered from sources covering different centuries, continents and ideologies. This explorative research material comprises the Studio Wall; this is the raw, less processed material which offers a path into a working methodology.

One main difference between the Studio Wall and the paintings is that the paintings have rules and the research work has not. The large paintings are an attempt at negotiating my understanding of painting as a language and the Studio Wall refers more to my experience of landscape itself.

The necessary shift from research work to ‘finished’ painting is ongoing, as that which appears to be a successful composition as a sketch doesn’t always translate easily into painting. The paintings are a continuous series of decisions with no fixed outcome.

The large paintings offer more possibilities of alluding to fictions and narratives that I tease out through distorting scale, space, colour or by adding contradictory elements; an Italianate tree against a Germanic snow capped mountain.

I attempt to suggest a veneer of what a proper landscape might be and then find a means of perverting that order. Needless to say such a project has failure built into it and that is often humorously apparent. The only logic necessary is that which exists within the surface of the painting, when everything is in the right place, all the correct elements seem as they should be: At that point the cracks in the facade often hold the most meaning.