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Supported by Arts Council England

Supported by Rother District Council

See our artworks on Art UK

Paula MacArthur


Paula MacArthur is a painter, trained at the Royal Academy & Turps Art Schools and was a John Moore’s Painting Prize winner in 1993. She exhibits nationally and internationally; and works from her studio in Rye, East Sussex.
She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, was a prizewinner at John Moore’s Painting Prize in 1993 and first prize winner at the National Portrait Gallery Portrait Award in 1989. Other highlights include Made in Britain - National Museum Gdansk Poland (2019), In the Future curated by Rosalind Davis at Collyer Bristow Gallery (2018), Contemporary Masters from Britain touring four museums in China (2017), Slippery & Amorphous London & Brooklyn NYC (2016), Creekside Open selected by Richard Deacon (2015), What the Folk Say - Compton Verney Warwickshire (2011), Four Self- Portrait Artists - Walker Art Gallery Liverpool (1994), Royal Academy Schools Graduates, Grassi Museum Leipzig (1993), Young Contemporaries - Whitworth Art Gallery (1989). Permanent collections include the National Portrait Gallery London, Priseman Seabrook Collection and Jiangsu Art Museum in China and Graham Crowley included his essay on my work ‘Still Light’ in his book ‘I Don’t Like Art’
The current focus of Paula MacArthur’s work is crystals and jewels, these are explorations of colour and light, a contemporary response to Dutch 17th century Pronkstilleven painting - ostentatious still life. Solitary, precious stones are captured in the spotlight, displayed as icons which lure us in and quietly invite us to investigate the multifaceted associations we bring to these treasures.
She selects particular specimens instinctively, choosing the examples which elicit an emotional and a physical response - butterflies, a gasp or a sigh. Through the slow, meditative process of painting, these valuable objects reveal themselves to her and she begins to delve into her subconscious and understand why they resonate with her personally. The resulting paintings also resonate more universally; touching upon issues such as materialism, capitalism, feminism and the environment, and broader themes which concern us all, love, beauty and the ephemerality of life.
The crystal paintings shown here were made during lockdown. The glowing forms of the quartz crystal in ‘All these silent moments’ describes an extremely slow growing mineral but it reminds us of both a small, momentary splash in a pool and a vast, exploding supernova. ‘Didn’t I give you nearly everything’ describes thin, fragile gypsum filaments as they expand into a solid yet extremely delicate heart shaped form. Both canvases were painted slowly and carefully in very thin glazes during lockdown, MacArthur’s approach changed subtly to reflect the collective feeling of anxiety arising from the pandemic. The crystal forms are beautiful and strange; emerging from the painted void they seem suddenly to mimic the alien appearance of a virus and it becomes quite ominous. Within a single object our desire to accumulate treasures as tokens of love and displays of wealth is contrasted with the knowledge of our own fragility and ultimate demise.

All enquiries ryeartgallery@gmail.com

or telephone : 01797 222433

Cadmium Orange - The first time in a long time, 2021, hand coloured photopolymer etching on Somerset 300gsm, 30x37.5cm - £450

Cadmium Orange - The first time in a long time, 2021, hand coloured photopolymer etching on Somerset 300gsm, 30x37.5cm - £450

Cadmium Yellow Light - Take me where you’re going, 2021, hand coloured photopolymer etching on Somerset 300gsm, 30x37.5cm - £450

Cadmium Yellow Light - Take me where you’re going, 2021, hand coloured photopolymer etching on Somerset 300gsm, 30x37.5cm - £450

Cadmium Red - Until the very end, 2021, hand coloured photopolymer etching on Somerset 300gsm, 30x37.5cm - £450

Cadmium Red - Until the very end, 2021, hand coloured photopolymer etching on Somerset 300gsm, 30x37.5cm - £450

Cadmium Yellow Deep - All these silent moments, 2021, hand coloured photopolymer etching on Somerset 300gsm, 30x37.5cm - £450

Cadmium Yellow Deep - All these silent moments, 2021, hand coloured photopolymer etching on Somerset 300gsm, 30x37.5cm - £450

I will lead you out of here, 2019, oil on canvas, 160x100cm - £8,050

I will lead you out of here, 2019, oil on canvas, 160x100cm - £8,050

Maybe if I fall asleep, 2021, Oil on canvas, 120x120cm - £7,500

Maybe if I fall asleep, 2021, Oil on canvas, 120x120cm - £7,500

Let me be your eyes, 2012, Oil on canvas, 140x140cm - £8,750

Let me be your eyes, 2012, Oil on canvas, 140x140cm - £8,750

Who's to say that I'm unhappy, 2013, Oil on canvas, 200x300cm - £14,500

Who's to say that I'm unhappy, 2013, Oil on canvas, 200x300cm - £14,500

Keep me in a dream, 2022, Oil on canvas, 120x150cm - £8,365

Keep me in a dream, 2022, Oil on canvas, 120x150cm - £8,365

Everything I've had but couldn't keep, 2012, Oil on canvas, 140x140cm - £8,750

Everything I've had but couldn't keep, 2012, Oil on canvas, 140x140cm - £8,750

Promise me one thing, 2014, Oil on canvas  140x140 cm - £8,750

Promise me one thing, 2014, Oil on canvas 140x140 cm - £8,750

Inside your heart, 2021, Oil on canvas,  40x40 cm inc. frame - £650

Inside your heart, 2021, Oil on canvas, 40x40 cm inc. frame - £650

Forever to be mine, 2021, Oil on canvas, 30x30cm inc. frame - £575

Forever to be mine, 2021, Oil on canvas, 30x30cm inc. frame - £575

And always is the time, 2021, Oil on marble,  19.5x25.5 cm inc. frame - £675

And always is the time, 2021, Oil on marble, 19.5x25.5 cm inc. frame - £675

All your promises forevermore, 2021, Oil on canvas,  33x33 cm inc. frame - £650

All your promises forevermore, 2021, Oil on canvas, 33x33 cm inc. frame - £650