„In the Shadow of Young Girls in Bloom“
November 10 – December 23, 2004
Galerie Lisa Ruyter is pleased to present Paul P.’s exhibition “In the Shadow of Young Girls in Bloom”, from 10 November – 23 December 2004. This will be the first European solo show by the Canadian artist.
This exhibition consists of head-and-shoulders drawings and paintings of young men and a single atmospheric landscape. These works are modeled after pornographic print sources of late 1970’s and early 80’s vintage, and are rendered in traditional techniques of cross-hatching, watercolor and glazing. Paul P. has developed a simple and sophisticated engagement with portraiture, aesthetics, the art historical, and gay representation.
“In the Shadow of Young Girls in Bloom” is taken from an antiquated English language naming of the 1919 volume of Marcel Proust’s great work “In Search of Lost Time”. In the text, the adolescent narrator anguishes over a brash young gang of girls in summertime coastal France. Within his writing Proust, as the narrator, appears as a heterosexual in a world teeming with same-sex desires. By using Proust’s title, Paul P. suggests a reversion.
Taken at face value, the work of Paul P. is quite romantic in nature. In the portraits, there is nostalgia for the mythical age of sexual freedom and liberation, which was abruptly cut short by AIDS. Too young to have experienced this moment in person, Paul P. projects a complicated ambivalence towards gay representation which has often relied on – almost longed for – the quixotic pursuit of impossible fantasies.
In his processing of sexual images of unnamed people, Paul P. both embraces and rejects traditional processes of art making. He does not know his models, belying the intimacy generally implied in portraiture. Through Paul P.’s inter-textual strategies, fear, desire, paranoia and intimacy are separated from issues of sexual representation, and returned to a place of lived experience.
Paul P. was born in 1977 and currently lives and works in Toronto. Recent solo exhibitions include Daniel Reich, New York, Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles and Angstrom Gallery, Dallas. He has been included in group shows at David Zwirner and Andrea Rosen, both in New York, The Power Plant in Toronto and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Salzburg.