A Yellow Bird at Night
Peter Bergman is proud to present Paul Housley’s second solo show at the gallery.
Paul Housley works with portraiture in its various forms, in a way that moves beyond depiction of people and objects. Rather than aiming to portray a subject’s outer or even inner qualities, he moves the emphasis to a “not-present”, arrived at as the image is continuously tested through the working process. The painterly labour is laid out as evidence, and rejected motives are allowed to become part of the finished work. This may be why each painting appears to have its very own temperament, a sort of psyche that has come about on the journey the painting has made from the very first stages. Creation and destruction go hand in hand, and then arrive in the moment, in the here and now.
The exhibition ‘A Yellow Bird at Night’ refers to Housley’s relation to colour, form and the act of creation. The new works are as self-evident as they are opaque, just as the yellow bird of the title will be black at night; they complicate seemingly simple truths. From just the five basic colours of the palette, images are formed that bear witness to the absurdities of existence and the simple joy of being alive.
Several themes and motives refer to art history - for instance Housley has painted himself previously as Velazquez and Picasso - and many of his paintings, directly or indirectly, are inspired by popular culture. Just as often as the paintings hold back their full identity, they declare their presence as a comment on themselves. All contain traces of a ghostly and irrational reality; something that in the midst of safe familiarity, manages to escape our eyes.
Paul Housley was born in Stalybridge UK in 1964. He holds an MA from the Royal College of Art. Recent solo exhibitions include Akinci, Amsterdam (2010); Orders from Chaos, Peter Bergman, Stockholm (2009); Some Have Eyes, Wilkinson Gallery, London (2008); Night Painting, Sunday LES, New York (2008) and Heavy Easel, Norwich Gallery, Norwich (2006). Housley has participated in group exhibitions including Keep Floors and Passage Clear, White Columns, New York (2011); Dark Nature, Poppy Sebire, London (2010); She Awoke With a Jerk, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York (2010); Repetition: Paintwork3, Galerie Borchardt, Hamburg (2009); Things We Know, Jessica Bradley Art and Projects, Toronto (2007).