01.07 - 01.08.2020
A Solo exhibition by Paul Senyol
Senyol’s latest solo exhibition at Salon91, Memorial, foregrounds an introspective consideration of living and dying with regard to the recent pandemic, but in the body of each painting the artist chooses to focus on the complexity of a unique, lived experience within a shared reality. Lockdown has given him the means to connect with the individual character of each work through more extensive planning and refining of paintings. As sites of reflection, the works in Memorial carry in them the artist’s experience of a particular international reality while becoming, over time, unique markers for looking back at this moment in history.
Senyol has embraced the forced time of stasis during lockdown this year to paint with a reflective honesty inspired by the humble power of a piece of literature by Roald Dahl titled “Over to You”. As the title suggests, the collection of short stories is a total relinquishing of control on the part of the narrator. What Dahl’s stories achieve in their quietly remarkable way is a raw honesty of experience without prescription as to intention or meaning. Honesty and relinquishing to process is something Senyol has aspired to in his works. His time spent in studio has been as much about production as contemplation, a means of revisiting processes from the past with new perspective. His most fruitful musings have been in prolonged engagement with the painting in progress. Exposed areas of under-painting have been left revealed, working in juxtaposition with a finished, drawn flourish such that the surface reveals a raw visual record of labour and layer. The unsanctioned marks of the street that so inspire his paintings are recorded in this process of painted exposure, with figures and forms shimmering across the canvas surface in various states of articulation to form a completed work.
Senyol has particularly enjoyed working with the Black River team to produce a unique edition of screenprints for this exhibition. Each print is anchored by a composition that shifts and evolves in colour and mark so that although it is an edition, each piece displays its unique character. This theme is also present in ‘Twelve Stories’, a work made up of twelve painted canvas panels. Envisioned as a compositional whole, each panel also functions individually as a completed work.
There is an honest fracturing of form in the works in Memorial, as though the artwork were a body marked by experiences that have scarred its surface in much the same way that the metaphorical body of a street wall, curb or World War memorial is scarred by daily use. These spaces do not grow old because they are consistently worn anew by their occupation and habitation by the living - those that ‘irreverently’ lay their washed clothes along a monument’s balustrade to dry in the sun or picnic on a plaqued plinth.