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Art School
Art School
Art School
Art School

Paul Winstanley in Conversation Thursday 21st April

27th April, 2016

Paul Winstanley is at the Alan Cristea Gallery, Cork Street London from 17th March through to 7th May.

I went to see Paul Winstanley in conversatio at the Alan Cristea Gallery last week. He was discussing his paintings with the art critic and historian Charlotte Mullins. After a hectic journey due to train cancellations and the temporary closure of the Bakerloo line, it was a relief to step into the calming serenity of the Paul Winstanley paintings on show at the Alan Cristea Gallery in Cork Stree untill the 7th May 2016.

These enigmatic paintings are testament not only to our British Art Schools but the present situation they find themselves in, due to lack of funding in the arts and the constant threat of inner and outer city development. While Winstanley's paintings address the notion of time and space, in conversation he also talked about the threat of developers to art schools themselves as well as artists studios.

In these paintings we see vacant art studios with no students, only the marks that remind us of their term time presence, alongside pieces of art work left over a summer to be maybe continued at another time. Winstanley  said that he had visited fifty three art schools in all mainly over summer periods when students were away. The art schools did have human presence in the form of tutors and lecturers and others that need to inhabit such premises outside of term time. But, these paintings of vacant art studio spaces within art schools not only address time and place, but are a poignant reminder of the the threat of developers to the existence of some of these art school buildings.

More frequently we see the rise of  what has been referred to as Guerilla Art Schools where students follow shorter courses run by artists in order to develop their work, and in some cases to avoid large tuition fees.

The Art School series of paintings are a sign of our times and the position of art schools within those times. The remnants of pieces of art work, a small canvas with dripped paint on it, a sink devoid of contents, are a stark but meaningful reminder of this. Their very serenity counteracts the position of the arts and the constant threat to funding and developers..

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