Richmond Library Space, 415 Church St, Richmond
Up Close and Far Away - paintings in oils on canvas
9 August - 10 October 2011
Today I visited the Richmond library to see the exhibition 'Up Close And Far Away', works by Paul Emons. At first I was struck by the fact that there were two different styles of painting represented, but on observing the dates of the works, I realised that what I was seeing was a journey over several years, from the traditional to the wild side. Paul's work began with paintings like Wallflower and Blue Lady, with limited and gentle palletes and traditional images, that over the next few years, evolved and changed from the tonal realist works to joyful exuberant abstracts. Gone were the sombre blues and greys and then, 'Hello colour'! Gorgeous colour joyous and free. The earliest of the new style, Flower Father, was quite a timid effort. I can see that he was feeling his way into the new style, but within two years he had moved on to Pills. What a huge leap! I can see that Paul is in love with colour and has learnt to handle it bravely and well.
The library wall was lit up by four of my favourites. I loved Ballroom Dancers for its Miroesque feeling of lightness and movement. But my two absolute favourites were Pills and Eden.
All the works are in oil. Thick, rich, luscious oil, laid down with confidence and set off with the strong black lined edges. The first thing you notice in the paintings is the colour, but look further and the symbols and stories begin to emerge. So often in cubist abstracts, it is difficult to read what the painter is saying, but in these works, the shapes and images are very well placed within the design and add to the enjoyment of interpreting the story. I really enjoyed looking at them and in fact, lingered in front them for such a long time, enjoying their subtle shapes and lovely colours, that the library staff began eyeing me with suspicion.
I was taught that art should be a process of growing and moving on. Trying new things, stretching the imagination, and not allowing ourselves to be bound by rules and conventions. Paul is doing just that and it will be interesting to see where this will take his work. Isn't this what modern art is all about? Good work Paul!