PAUL SLOAN

REVERBERATION

Paul Sloan studied painting at R.M.I.T in Melbourne where he received a bachelor of visual arts, honours. In 2008 he was also offered a residency in Shangai and exhibition in Dublin. Paul Sloan has exhibited widely in Australia and also in London, Prague, Dublin, & Shanghai. His work is held in private and public collections.

Art Exhibition previously on at Until Never in Australia.
From Wednesday 18 November 2009 to Saturday 19 December 2009
Launch Wednesday 18 November 2009, 6 to 8pm

Paul Sloan - studio image

Published by anonymous on Wednesday 28 October 2009.
Contact the publisher.

Plurality, Abundance, Profusion and Delight: The Art Of Paul Sloan

Paul Sloan’s work appears to me—tho it always appears differently, each time—as a kind of stirring of the Visual Imaginary of our epoch: an extending repertoire of images and of classes of imagery is thrown up. This is seemingly done with a speed that precludes censorship or directed selection.

Of course, one wonders how true this is. But the results seem wonderfully free and uncensored by any governing anxiety of the ravishing super-ego or self-consciousness.

The images are from nature, from urban living, and they range over objects, vignetted ‘scenes’, the generic, the logo, the branded, the directly and very closely perceived.

One of the beauties of the equivalence that this enforces is that things often experienced as generic—hardly experienced at all, because we are so familiar with them, or experienced with a brief shiver of distaste—are brought back to us revived and magically full of charm. Or they appear as not quite so recognisable (not so immediately recocognisable as either friend or foe). And they appear thus amongst images more conventionally acceptable as beautiful, interesting or whatever.

Of course “conventionally” begs some argument, some interrogation.

And this is the underlying point of Sloan’s quick, considering eye and hand: in a world that is visually saturated the convention changes all the time. Paul Sloan’s exhibitions surf the wave of this change in fashion, in the ‘valency’ or currency of certain images—and they work to accelerate, disrupt and query these waves and tides and eddies within our culture.

Formally Sloan’s work has this same abundance and inclusiveness: a slacker reincarnation of Delacroix (the parrots, the turbans, the hawk on the wrist! the colour!) meets Ken Whisson (the same deliberately unmuscled line, the same bouts of energy and enervation, speed and slackness, the journey across unmarked white, the colour values sometimes close, sometimes contrasting).

The sensibility is post-Pop, but timelessly contemporary: knowing and tired, fresh, avid and ironic, affectionate or noncommital. The lineage of course includes Warhol, Larry Rivers and Joe Brainard, but also Picabia and Morandi, Bruce Petty and Whitely and Robert Klippel. Sloan joins these and others, though he may not have been formally introduced to all. (Has he seen Brainard, Klippel, or, say, Kirchner? Would he even like them?)

His terrifically inclusive take on subject matter and style (styles of presentation that are often post-60s, advertising-derived, where he varies greatly the angle taken, the cropping of image, and combines the cool and with-it of the present and imediately past with a dribbling, messy, unconcerned execution) has a liberating effect on all who view.

The effect is nothing so simple as inculcating a new species of hedonism, more an amusement that gives both appetite and innoculation and sensitises the eye to graphic energy and variety.

One is grateful for the return of things we liked to love—the record player, the blossom, the early teen buzz of fandom and obsession—and the return of drawing to the dispensation under which it used to live, as the artist’s tool for examing every day life—from Rembrandt’s toddler, Durer’s hare, to Banksy’s stencilled works in contemporary London.

Ken Bolton