Critchley, Paul

Paul Critchley



Paul Critchley

BA (Hons) Fine Art


Perspective, its use and abuse, is at the core of my paintings, which are realistically painted in oils on canvas stretched over individually shaped wooden bases. The shapes are an integral part of the painting’s composition and are determined by the motif and its perspective. The shape of the painting enhances the feeling of realism because it echoes the shape of the subject portrayed; this makes it extra real, Supra Realistic.
Perspective is a lie. Using perspective for organizing space is fine when all you want to do is concentrate your vision in a narrow direction. However the moment you try to encompass just that little bit more then distortions creep in making the foreground look and feel huge; what was once the focal point of the picture is lost as the edges of the picture take over and dominate. For this reason in 1985 I abandoned the standard square and rectangular picture formats in order to work with these distortions in scale and shape rather than to ignore them; exploiting them to make my paintings feel more real. When I began I painted interiors by using multiple viewpoint perspective in order to show the whole environment but over the years I have expanded my themes to include exteriors, day and night, corners, door and window paintings, and, most recently, individual objects. For example, a painting of a sofa is shaped to look like the actual shape of the sofa.

The paintings can be viewed as individual pieces or, in certain cases and depending on how they are juxtaposed they can be seen collectively as an installation of the contents of a room. Rooms which have painted doors, windows and furniture; we can be outside and look in to the room ‘through’ a painted window or inside and look ‘out’ to see a landscape, seascape or cityscape. What is more, as the window and door paintings have hinged panels they allow the viewer to interact by opening and closing them. This gives rise to more possibilities; for example time is a recurring theme and so when the panels of a ‘window’ painting are closed we may see a night view and when opened a day view.

I like these domestic scenes to have an air of unease about them, I want to reveal only enough to keep the viewer guessing at the truth of the painting’s story or, better still, to invent his or her own story based on the scene portrayed.

See more details, pictures and books on Paul’s website


all images are copyright the artist unless otherwise stated
Rauric 12, oil on canvas on hardboard, 283 x 255 cm
Caution : Red Line, oil on canvas on hardboard, diptych 175 x 100 cm. (open)
Disconnected, oil on canvas on hardboard with hinged panel, 180 x 86 x 84 cm. (corner painting)
Looking In, oil on canvas on hardboard, 150 x 79 x 76 cm. (corner painting)
Conversing With The Past, oil on canvas on hardboard, with mirror 167 x 167 cm
Chez la madame, oil on canvas on hardboard, 86 x 188 cm