Paula MacArthur’s recent series of large scale canvases focuses on jewels. Enlarged a thousand times these tiny stones transform into celestial entities. These paintings are a personal celebration of love and over time have come to encompass universal desires and obsessions.
Working with viscous paint beside pools of barely tinted turps and using exaggerated intense colour the artist pushes the medium towards the extremes of its capabilities. Working quickly and instinctively MacArthur places colour onto the canvas working with wet on wet glazes, merging oily translucent layers with the brush and dropping colour, allowing it to bleed and grow into the surface. From a distance brush marks and the trails of running paint are invisible, the paintings appear cohesive, even photographic, then as the viewer approaches the images disintegrate. The paint becomes as ephemeral as the jewel’s sparkle, the focus moves from the gemstone to the physicality of the paint and echoes the elusive ideals these minute treasures symbolise.
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