Celia Paul: Stillness
29 March - 26 June 2004
'Stillness' is the first solo exhibition in a public gallery of paintings, drawings and etchings by one of Britain's leading contemporary artists.
In the last fifteen years Celia Paul (b.1959) has emerged as one of the most remarkable and original painters working in the figurative tradition. The exhibition surveys her artistic achievement throughout this period, and will include major paintings on loan from private collections as well as a group of new works coming directly from the artist's studio in London.
Celia Paul has always concentrated on painting the human figure. Portraiture is her central concern, and she paints her friends, family and the people closest to her.The most frequent sitter over the last twenty years has been her mother, with whom she feels the deepest connection and emotional bond. The spiritual and sometimes philosophical atmosphere of the paintings is reflected in titles such as My Mother and God and Steve and the Sublime. All of her work is suffused with a sense of inner mood and compassion, achieved through the evocative use of light and space and her ability to capture emotion and character.
Best known for monumental paintings executed in heavily applied oil on canvas, Celia has recently been using watercolours to create large-scale works on paper, and these beautiful and intimate portraits will be displayed for the first time. She has rarely tackled non-human subjects, but her latest work includes three small watercolours of mountains, representing a radical departure for the artist. In addition there will be a group of drawings and twenty softground etchings dating from 1991 to the present, which reveal the importance of these different techniques in her art.
In 1998 her work was exhibited alongside the masters of British figurative art in the exhibition School of London - from Bacon to Bevan which travelled to Paris, Santiago and Vienna, and her recent exhibitions at Corner 2003 and 2004 at the Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, were met with great acclaim. Her work can be found in many important public collections including the British Museum, the Saatchi Collection and the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
The exhibition has been organised in association with Marlborough Fine Art, London. There is a fully illustrated colour catalogue including an essay by William Feaver.