The art of Paul Whitehead stands as ready proof of the old saying that "first impressions never last." The British artist utilizes a technique that catches the viewer off guard by employing visual puns that reflect his wry sense of humor. Deeper reflection, however, may reveal a more profound message. This is often posed as an unanswered riddle striking a perfect balance between whimsy and a self-effacing Socratic wisdom.
Click Images to Enlarge
Click Images to Enlarge
Whitehead explores a wide range of perspectives in each of his paintings. In "Furniture"
a bird looks at a tree and sees a nesting place; a small boy a tree to climb; the nature lover revels in the glory of nature embodied in a trees; while the businessman sees wood for furniture. The visual appreciation and the concepts generated by our minds are determined by our social conditioning, environment, values and precepts.
Born in a bombed-out suburb of southeast London at the end of World War Two, art has liberated Whitehead from the restrictions of his own social origins. Although he described his experience of studying art at Oxford as a disaster, he also calls it informative. His breakthrough came in London's "Swinging Sixties" when he established himself as a leading designer of album covers for musical artists like Fats Domino
and the super-group Genesis
in a classic post psychedelic style.
When asked to identify his artistic inspiration, he points to René Margritte's surrealistic painting 'Ceci Ce N'est Pas une Pipe' (This is not a pipe).
"For me painting", he says, "is about questioning reality
and challenging perceptions."
This is apparent in "Accident"
- a work illustrating a fallen glass out of which white powder has haphazardly and somewhat miraculously tumbled out in the shape of the island of Bali. Similarly, perhaps Whitehead's arrival in Bali and current exhibition at the Ganesha Gallery
should be seen as serendipitous.
A graduate of a phenomenal era, his paintings and antics are guaranteed to amuse, surprise and astonish art lovers this holiday season in an exhibition that runs through January 4, 2010.QUESTIONS?
An Exhibition of Paintings by Paul Whitehead
Ganesha Gallery at the Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay
Open Daily, December 10, 2009 through January 4, 2010.
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