‘we are so lightly here…’
Paul Mellor studied fine art (painting) at Wimbledon School of Art and has continued to make and exhibit work nationally and internationally in the media of film, video, printmaking and photography.
He returned to painting in 2010. This recent work, informed by his lifelong passion for historical and contemporary painting, considers themes of isolation, melancholy, history, memory, loss, allegory and mortality. The work displays an almost naive faith in the continuing relevance of painting in a digital age and deliberately references, both obliquely and directly, particular artists (sometimes individual works) that have been an influence since he was a student and others picked up along the way. These include Piero della Francesca, Titian, Velazquez, Friedrich, Gauguin, Manet, Munch, Hopper and Bacon, as well as filmmakers such as Herzog, Pasolini, Wenders, Visconti, Antonioni and Andrei Tarkovsky.
A recurring concern of the work is to open a dialogue that seeks to interpret a psychological space that is more representative of a state of mind than any specific place, frequently employing the same themes, tropes and motifs – the melancholic rhetoric of distant horizons, windows and mirrors; isolated figures viewed from behind; and empty spaces and desolate landscapes that suggest an estranged reality and vulnerability. In employing these recurring themes, he hopes to effect a distancing from the subject being represented so that the image is viewed atmospherically rather than descriptively.
Frequently using source material from a range of digital reproductions (art books, film stills, postcards etc), the finished works offer representations governed by contingency and removed from their points of origin that seek to question the idea of memory (private/collective, its failure, illusion and ambiguity), history, and the human condition.