Between the Figurative and the Abstract

The Art of Paul McCartney

Most of the approx. 70 paintings on show are autonomous pictures with a strong emphasis on material and composition, some of them with autobiographical leanings. McCartney's painting is situated somewhere between the two poles of objective realism and gestural expression. Alongside almost abstract compositions, in which the artist demonstrates physical pleasure in the precise application of the material „paint“, the central theme of his oeuvre takes the form of „facial pictures“ and landscapes. Paul McCartney & Willem de Kooning (c) Estate of Linda McCartney„Facial pictures“ can be expressive portraits, double or group portraits, but also masks or biting caricatures, sometimes with references to his own biography. These are offset by „landscapes“, expressions of colour reminiscent of body shapes or head shapes, or even dream landscapes, especially in the presence of Celtic motifs or symbols. In his pictures, McCartney - who is an admirer not only of de Kooning but also of René Magritte - brings together expressive and surreal elements in a synthesis determined by colour processes: the material qualities of the paint and accidental marks on the canvas are taken up and incorporated - often with great emotional power - into well-balanced compositions.

Big mountain face (c) Paul McCartney„One thing I have learned, is that the more precise you try to be about a thing, somehow the less you achieve. You can go too wooden, you can lose the spirit of the thing. Just for instance the eye on that boxer, to just put three lines like that will actually do a better job than really figuratively working that in and doing the eyelashes and putting a little eyeball in. Somehow they seem to awaken echoes, those little half-glimpsed moments.“ (Paul McCartney in Interview about 'Big mountain face')

1 min Interview with Paul McCartney (548k)

„Paul McCartney brings to painting the same humour, enthusiasm and enjoyment that is present in his music.“ (Barry Miles)


PAUL McCARTNEY paintings , Kunstforum Lÿz, Siegen, 1. Mai bis 25. Juli 1999
Konzeption & Organisation der Ausstellung: Kultur!Büro. Kreis Siegen-Wittgenstein
Paintings © Paul McCartney. Photographs of the artist © Estate of Linda McCartney

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