Paul Desborough

Selected works from the solo exhibition:

Paul Desborough: Misheard Lyrics

7 September – 30 November 2013

Paul Desborough Landscape with Car Incident VII, 2010, acrylic, 49×127.5 cm

Organized by TFA in collaboration with:

Rebecca Camhi Gallery

Leonidou 9, Metaxourgeio
Athens 10437, Greece

This exhibition is presented as part of the Athens international gallery event:

ReMap 4*

The paintings of Paul Desborough challenge our most basic assumptions about the nature of painting. By being neither on canvas or panel, his works sever the conventional bond between medium and support to develop a new strategy of painting for our time and in turn to celebrate the physical materiality of the paint. The act of making the paint mark is preserved in its essence: unconstrained by framing edges, each paint-skin is stretched through space or over a surface, to activate and become one with its setting. By blurring with the boundaries of sculpture and installation the formal limits of painting are challenged afresh.

Paul Desborough’s portable murals are not site-specific works: rather they are the means by which the site is conditioned. They take charge of the space they inhabit they activate the walls by breaking through their confining nature, engendering a spontaneous flow of colour, light, depth and thought.

A close inspection of Desborough’s paint-skins – characterised by an intuitive instinct for abstraction combined with a technical facility in the classical tradition – reveals the presence of photographic images from consumer product packaging grafted into the skin of each painting. In his works the commercial aspect of the appropriated and embedded images is corrupted and re-individualised to serve as a platform for the interpretative reading of the work.

Desborough’s intuitive pictorial approach to appropriated print media images unleashes the potential of narrative transformation: in the flash of awareness before conscious understanding we become aware of layered references, from which the impulse of new meaning self-generates. An exuberant pallet of venetian colour, a Baroque grandeur of scale, and a gravity defying lightness seemingly revel with the molten metallic edge of a rock-riff or cinematic sequence, to create a cultural fusion all its own: an aesthetic arena unconfined by the framing edge of categorisation – a pictorial space in which the most unexpected cultural synergies are brought into play to create a new narrative for the present.

Paul Desborough makes his paintings in series: he calls these Albums to underline the influence of counter-culture rock-pop music and those band’s recording achievements, which he likens to his approach to image making. The exhibition entitled Misheard Lyrics presents a selection of Singles from his recent Albums – notably the Earlier Influences: works that fully reveal the artist’s refinement and control of a seemingly informal technique.

Paul Desborough Sub Plot II, 2010, acrylic, 31.8 × 48.5 cm

Paul Desborough Sub Plot I, 2010, acrylic, 34.3 × 32.5 cm

Paul Desborough Untitled, 2011, acrylic, 97×102 cm

Paul Desborough Study for Untitled, 2011, graphite, 61.5 × 33 cm

Paul Desborough Study for Lair of the Still Outdoors, 2011, graphite and acrylic, 46.7 × 47.7 cm

Paul Desborough Study for The Still Outdoors III, 2011, graphite and acrylic, 90 × 30.8 cm

Paul Desborough Study for The Still Outdoors III, 2011, graphite and acrylic, 53 × 35 cm

Paul Desborough Study for Lair of the Still Outdoors, 2011, graphite and clear acrylic, 55 × 84.7 cm

Works from the recent exhibition:

same place same time –

Phyllis Baldino | Paul Desborough
Spring 2011 / 2 April – 3 July 2011
via Roma 22, Cortona

Paul Desborough The Still Outdoors 2008, acrylic, 180 × 460 cm

The formal contrast between the two artist’s works in this exhibition is immediately discernible in their differing media. Phyllis Baldino works predominantly with video to explore the varying nature of perception, while Paul Desborough’s paintings, severed from any conventional support such as canvas or panel, challenge the formal limits of their materials to blur the boundaries of sculpture and installation. Both artists use photographic imagery ironically while also conducting an attentive dialogue with the art of the past.

Eleven short silent videos from Phyllis Baldino’s Out of Focus Everything Series will be exhibited. This series is comprised of forty pieces that are inspired by the “theory of everything” trying to unify Einstein’s general relativity (the very large) with quantum theory (the very small). Filmed in the United States, France and Italy, they also reveal the range of places that have influenced her, from Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and the house of Camille Claudel to the ancient architecture of the Pantheon. Conceptual rigour, formal coherence and a delight for colour characterise Baldino’s works. In her video Monet’s Atelier Baldino parallels the ‘absence’ or blind spot in her own sight (a collateral effect of recent open-heart surgery) with Monet’s failing vision during his last years at his Giverny home and studio, today a popular tourist destination.

Paul Desborough calls his innovative method of image making ‘Cast Transfer’ painting – the term alludes to the action of casting/throwing paint to make a picture and to casting/moulding paint so that it becomes its own support. It is also suggestive of the means by which he integrates found material from print media or commercial packaging into his constructions. By inserting mechanically produced images alongside his painterly gesture, Desborough eloquently appropriates fragments of consumer icons and claims them as art objects. Desborough’s two large-scale works exhibited at TFA exemplify his method of ‘Cast Transfer’ painting and fully reveal his refinement and control of a seemingly informal technique.

This is the second in a series of three TFA exhibitions for 2011: a site (winter), same place same time – (spring), in the country of last things (summer). Each is concerned with the idea of place – and its counterpoint – the essence of the thing the artist saw.

Installation view showing Monet’s Atelier 2011 by Phyllis Baldino and The Still Outdoors 2008 by Paul Desborough

Paul Desborough The Still Outdoors 2008 (installation view detail)

Paul Desborough The Still Outdoors 2008 (detail)

Paul Desborough The Still Outdoors 2008 (detail)

Paul Desborough Study for The Still Outdoors 2011

Installation view showing Landscape with Car Incident IV 2009 by Paul Desborough

Paul Desborough Landscape with Car Incident IV 2009

Paul Desborough Landscape with Car Incident IV 2009 (detail)

Paul Desborough Landscape with Car Incident IV 2009 (detail)

Paul Desborough Landscape with Car Incident IV 2009 (detail)

Installation view showing works from the Out of Focus Everything Series by Phyllis Baldino and Earlier Influences Informing Mishearing Now by Paul Desborough

Installation view showing Earlier Influences Informing Mishearing Now 2009 by Paul Desborough and the Out of Focus Everything Series by Phyllis Baldino

Paul Desborough Earlier Influences Informing Mishearing Now 2009 (detail)

Works from the recent exhibition:

a site,

Winter 2010 / 11 December 2010 – 20 March 2011

Kid Sank NY, 2010, from the Kandinsky Anagrams Album, acrylic, 250 × 160 cm (installed at TFA Cortona, 2010)

Study for Kid Sank NY, 2010, pencil and acrylic on paper, 50 × 40 cm

Study for Dalyan Wummen’s Association, 2007, from the Venus Album, pencil and acrylic on paper, 20 × 26 cm

Study for Untitled 2007, from the Venus Album, pencil and acrylic on paper, 20 × 26 cm

Biography

Landscape with Car Incident IV, 2009, acrylic, 160×110 cm

The paintings of Paul Desborough challenge our most basic assumptions about the nature of painting. His work severs the conventional bond between medium and support by being neither on canvas or panel. Instead, the paint itself becomes its own support. The artist has called this innovative working method ‘Cast Transfer’ painting. It preserves the act of making the paint mark in its essence and celebrates the very material property of the paint, allowing it to exist both as work and support. Through this creative process the work is denied the traditional status of ‘painting’. Its presentation – stretched, crumpled or positioned over, across or through any space or object – becomes an act of appropriation: the paint and its setting become one. In this way Desborough not only challenges the formal limits of painting, he also blurs the boundaries of sculpture and installation.

The content of Desborough’s work develops suggestive narratives. Here we see his intuitive instinct for abstraction collide with his technical facility in the classical tradition to offer alternate readings in a single work. At close inspection his painted surfaces reveal the presence of embedded photographic images ‘lifted’ from consumer product packaging, plastic bags and magazines. By being built into the fabric or skin of the painted surface these mass-produced ‘found’ images are individualised by the artist, while their original commercial status serves as a platform for various interpretative readings of his work.

Wrist Action: Further Heroics, 2006, acrylic, 4 × 16.5 m (installed at Centre Clark, Montreal, 2006)

Paul Desborough lives and works in London. He has collaborated with TFA since 2009. He has also exhibited with: Hardy Tree Gallery, London (2012), Hausler Contemporary, Munich (2011) Diving For Pearls (in your own Soup) at Morgen Strasse, Karlsruhe (2011), Lothringer 13, Munich (2010) New Quebec Street, London (2008-2009). Paul has also shown with: Hauser & Wirth, Swallow Street, London (2009) Experimental Arts Festival, Zbaszyn, Poland (2009) Sassa Trulzsch, Berlin (2008) Centre Clark, Montreal (2006) ADI Projects, London (2005) Beijing Academy of Fine Art, China (2005) and Tramway, Glasgow (2005). He studied at Glasgow School of Art.