John Hurrell – 19 October, 2020
A painter and a sculptor with few shared formal attributes join forces to overlap and stretch interpretative possibilities.
Kate Newby and Paul P.
As Long As You Want
2 October - 31 October 2020
An inspired pairing this coupling of artists makes. A painter and a sculptor with few shared formal attributes join forces to overlap and stretch interpretative possibilities. Paul P. is doing it anyway with his groupings of differently styled intimate canvases; even before Kate Newby comes within an anticipated viewing range.
P.’s sensitive brooding male portraits, taken from porn mags made between the beginning of gay rights and the explosion of the AIDs crisis, strive for a tremulous emotionality (or perhaps heightened and transcendant spirituality, or terrifying sublime) by mixing figuration with non-objective tropes in the form of Diebenkornish abstracted open landscapes or interiors. The faces are reminiscent of some of the darker portraits by Ron Kitaj, being haunted by a tortured vulnerability; an apprehension.
We see desire without overt carnality; male lust that avoids tumescence but embraces instead—with Newby’s help—the sublime. Zips (courtesy of Newby) as in Newman and trousers. A strange innocence and understated joy (an oscillation of mood)—before the catastrophe.
Hence the wit of the title with its four diverse meanings; some reflexive. They address a dealer (duration of show), an installer (wall height), an aroused lover (length), and an historian (time).
As Long as You Want has a wonderfully austere hang with masses of room and white walls, and lots of vertical or horizontal textures, using both floors. Newby’s joined-up vertical conduits are a sort of splendidly alluring gutter—loaded with thick fortuitous textures from her studio benches, beguiling glazes and coincidental perforations—that descends to the floor. (One work carries on below.) Each vertically aligned curled tile is screwed to the wall near its top, this method of attachment hidden by the bottom of the next tile up.
These lusciously gorgeous open ‘downpipes’ (vague hints of Gober?) look intriguing from a distance and sometimes even more compelling from a side angle—it accentuates their sawtooth profile—especially when encountered in the narrow corridors downstairs. You Saved My Life Again, Poet, and I Am Missing My Friends are paired together and made of wider tiles. They seem like exposed drains or tipped up, stacked, shovels; curved slabs with a fat horizontality that suddenly subvert their linear verticality.
This is a great show, for P. and Newby use Lett’s complex architecture well—both utilising the negative wall space between works to create white bands—exploiting the drama of the wide street-level spaces, and the furtive ‘cruising’ claustrophobia of the brickwalled corridors and abruptly-cornered alcoves below. The pathways become a trope for the meanderings of time and the horror of unanticipated tragedy. It’s a subtle and memorable installation.