Paul Robinson, 2014, Oil, Acrylic & Screen Print on Canvas, 184cm x 123cm, Paintings
‘Paul Robinson makes painting of trees and landscapes and mixes them up with the decorative patterns of wallpaper. The complexity of Robinson’s imagery and overlaying of pattern has been informed by the work of Robert Rauschenberg. Robinson paints a world, which joins Christopher Wool’s fabric paintings with a 1970’s Peter Phillips pop landscape. These images are reminiscence of dream sequences from 1960’s films; a drug trip depicted in solarisation photography where the image recorded is wholly or partially reversed in tone.’
Paul Robinson’s paintings feature three key elements, trees, repetitive patterns and representations of decaying painted surfaces. The paintings are precariously near to disassembling, as the amalgamations of his ambivalent recollections are disparate and fragmented. Yet an instinctive process of non-sequential layering combines these disjointed and seemingly disconnected elements seamlessly together.
Robinson begins his paintings by establishing a surface loaded with character and depth, rich in organic and synthetic tones. Viewing his process as a type of artificial decay, he creates natural forms by laying fabrics and paper towels onto the canvas that absorb and transfer the paint.
The repetitive patterns Robinson uses in his paintings are again chosen from his photographic archive. They are not solely there to serve as a decorative nuance, but instead bring a further layer of his personal history to the paintings. The pattern used in his most recent paintings is appropriated from his mother’s wallpaper, which hung on the walls of his childhood home for almost twenty-five years until it was stripped away this year. The selected pattern goes through a process of digital reconstruction, creating a flawless crisp design.
Robinson’s series ‘The Pink Bear’ has transformed a distant childhood memory by removing the bear from the context of a family portrait, which remained for years in his mothers lower bedroom draw, and placing it into surroundings similar to that of a real bear. In the forest Robinson’s bear is no longer a mascot for a theme park or TV show but has become a mystical figure of a fantasy make believe world in his mind. The Pink Bear is not a man in a costume, it is an alter ego. The partially costume dressed figure is the transformation between reality and make believe, innocence and corruption. The pink bear has a whimsical sense of playfulness through it’s association with childhood memories, yet remains firmly attached to adulthood through the tainted surfaces that surround the character in the abstract spaces of his paintings.
Robinson's series 'Decadence' examines and celebrates corroded patterned surfaces. Fundamental to this project is his appropriated wallpaper pattern. Through a process of digital reconstruction, Robinson has recreated the repetitive pattern which decorated his childhood home for almost twenty-five years. The pattern is then replicated onto carefully selected surfaces through controlled experiments. These are carried out over unregulated durations of time, using a variety of materials, methods, catalysts and utensils. Robinson describes his practice as 'artificial decay', as repeating factors effect the work, much like seasonal elements would effect a surface naturally.