Title : Freeform
Medium : Oil and acrylic on canvas
Size : 1000 x 2550mm
Date : 2008
Provenance : Exhibited : Graham's Contemporary Fine Art Gallery in 2008
Exhibition title : Some Strange Alphabet
PAUL, edited by Ashraf Jamal, published : PlanetPaul (Pty) Ltd, Cape Town, 2016
Colour illustrated page 202/203
Both Paul's Ligature Series of works on paper, as well as his Papermonster unique bronzes were included in this exhibition.
Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue, words by Antoinette du Plessis
Paul comments that a vague concept for 'Some strange alphabet' had been fomenting in his mind for a long time when the illuminating moment he had been hoping for happened unexpectedly during his first visit to China. Observing effective communication between people from different cultures lacking a common spoken language by finger gestures and scrawls in sand or in hand palms, he was struck by the ease with which a simplified pictorial shorthand could take over when words failed. A primal connection between language, essentially linear and time-bound, and an underlying, more elemental ability, essentially symbolic and instantaneous, became clear. A strangely inviting new light was cast on his own artistic idiom.
He found literature on the historical development of Chinese script, which intensified his interest. He became more and more convinced of a primal human understanding with no spatial or chronological limitations underpinning the symbols and signs with which we communicate. Paul showed his work to curators and to other artists in China, who confirmed this by spontaneously pointing out elements which reminded them of symbols used in their languages, some in current use, some ancient and obsolete. Paul habitually mentions ‘my alphabet, my awkward scrawls, my own graffiti’, when he speaks about the enduring substratum of visual metaphors which have sustained his years of visual research and experimentation.
Those remain the core of his work, but shifts in colour, line variation, textural nuance, rhythms of density and sparseness are appearing as he proceeds.