Written by 10:25 AM exhibition, news

Common Land by Paul Crook

Custom House Studios at Westport Quay are pleased to present an exhibition of paintings Common Land by Paul Crook on Thursday October 29 at 7.30 pm. Exhibition runs every day until 22nd November 2015 at the Custom House Studios Gallery, The Quay, Westport. Co Mayo. Ireland

The recent paintings address a series of important issues about the relationship we all have with our surroundings, looking more specifically at our experience of living within a more urban context. Paul Crook’s interest in this subject areas goes hand in hand with his involvement with the painting process itself. His work essentially investigates the exciting relationship that exists between the painting medium and the subject content.

His work has always drawn heavily from what he has experienced. It is essentially the product of what he sees and does every day. He finds the bland, mundane, functional and familiar places we inhabit exciting on many levels. Firstly, the places he references have become a part of his personal geography and history; this is his landscape, an environment that has evolved to serve the demands of the society that he grew up in. He is intrigued by the way these spaces represent many aspects of our human condition and behaviour. In a strangely uncomfortable manner, these places somehow mirror who we are and what we want from our lives. The work explores some of the more unsettling aspects of the urban landscape space where there may be a sense of uncertainty and unpredictability and attempts to identify and reveal something essentially dynamic about these places.


Paul Crook is interested in the process of painting production; his paintings seem to emerge from a process of addition and subtraction until a position can be fixed as some kind of resolution or statement. Paint materials are applied both quickly and cautiously; colours are intensified and manipulated in order to find effective legitimate responses to my thinking. The almost brash, strong, almost acidic colours are fairly confrontational and challenging and invite the viewer to be attracted to something they might normally find dull and predictably familiar. The artist wants the paintings to be an observation on how we live and engage with our landscape and to celebrate the beauty found in the ordinary routines of human existence.

These paintings depict a generic Northern European urban landscape that we immediately recognize and identify. The intention is that the work should connect and resonate with an audience who like the artist himself live within and are part of this continuously changing environment. On experiencing the paintings the viewer is reminded that where they live can be both demanding and challenging. However, through the language of painting the viewer is invited to observe something familiar that has been manipulated to emphasize the exciting incidents and fragments found within the urban space, suggesting that in many ways it’s a visually thrilling place to inhabit. The architectural styles referenced in the work asks the viewer to consider the idea of living in or being connected to a place in personal, social, cultural and historical terms.

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