The exhibition title refers to the artist Rex Whistler, whose work as a painter and muralist was cut short by his early death during the last days of WWII. The artistic lives that made up his milieu, The Bright Young Things, suffered from an extreme anxiety leading up to the catastrophe of war, a form of both depression and resistance that can only be fully understood in hindsight. This effete group of young prodigies, artists and poets performed as decadents wielding their high-profile frivolity in proto-punk acts of insolence towards the older generation (whose attitudes of chauvinism and philistinism they held responsible for the horrors of the First World War). From this stance they were able to create a sincere position of dedication to the pursuit of beauty and a spirit of civilization stemming from a platonic ideal. However, their dandyism (which thrived on fragility) was doomed to defeat as a part of this enterprise. Their ideals were challenged by the long shadow of a war which appeared to them as a magnification and fierce embodiment of the hostile forces they had actively resisted in contemporary life. The Romantic, Byronic accomplishment in their art finds parallels with other cultural crescendos such as the triad of physical/political/spiritual fervor which defined gay-liberation just before the devastation of AIDS or of the then radical art-for-art-sake moment of Whistler, Wilde and Godwin as it occurred on the seismic cusp of the new century.
There is a small etched-glass monument made to honour Rex Whistler by his brother Laurence Whistler housed in Salisbury Cathedral called The Rex Prism. Beyond the eulogistic, its ‘prismatic effect’ influences the many strands that are placed together to form the focus of this exhibition with inspiration from him.
Paul P. 2016
The exhibition by Canadian artist Paul P. will feature new figurative and abstract oil on linen works, ink on paper drawings and wooden furniture sculptures.
Paul P., The Rex Prisms
Exhibition Dates: March 19 – April 24, 2016
Private View: Saturday, March 19, 2016 from 6.30 – 8.30 pm
21 Herald Street
London E2 6JT