Monday, 16 May 2011


Over 200 artists are listed in the Dulwich Open booklet.  The two interesting artists we chose to visit were showing, one in Tulse Hill and one in Camberwell.

First, Paul Gildea.  I admire the oil paintings very much indeed, (as does the spouse).   Paul is a lecturer, part time, in Chelsea.  He has a studio in Brixton.  He paints directly on the canvas, either out of doors, or with models in his studio, thus the work is vibrant and exciting, fresh clean oil paint, with little restriction as to size or format.

Outside the house were he was showing his work, a large painting was presented to passers-by, fixed to a wall.   It is titled 'Old Women' and I found it rather disturbing, a group of - OK, old women - though they might be old men, and they are on the left, regarding two tiny children, who seem to be transfixed, either in terror or fascination.  Colours, muted and somewhat dark.  This painting might give you little tots nightmares!  It is dramatic and somehow fascinating, it tells a story.

At the back of the house, Paul showed his recent small paintings, some of children playing on a beach or garden or seascapes, such as a soft, muted view of Great Yarmouth docks, which I would have loved to buy.

The large new painting of 'Needles' had links in its tones and dramatic composition to Carravegio.  Its subject was provided by the poses of two young girls, holding sharp instruments.  This indeed was also a powerful and rather frightening construction in paint, the paint itself beautifully applied, and colours singing and sparking but not bright or glittering - for me, it brought to mind some of Goya's studies of peasant girls, or maybe Murillo.

Paul is a man who it is always a pleasure to talk to, about his work and about the work of other contemporary artists, and those of the past which he finds inspirational, such as Goya and Velazquez.  I found the visit to see his work both pleasurable and inspirational, as always.

Paul Gildea's website, which does not show recent work!

Dulwich Festival detail

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