Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Paul Edwards: Obsessive Expressionist

This post presents the work of the expressionistic, figurative painter, Paul Edwards.

Edwards was born in Detroit, but has spent a good portion of his life in the South; primarily Mississippi and Tennessee. After serving in Vietnam (for which he received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star), Edwards attended the Art Academy in Memphis (now the Memphis College of Art) and eventually went on to earn an MFA from Yale University. He graduated from Yale in the same class as  John Currin, Sean Landers and other notables. After school he moved from New Haven, CT to New York where he drove a cab and taught a color theory class at the School of Visual Arts. During this time he had success with regular showings at the Alan Stone Gallery in Manhattan before moving to California for a brief period.

Since then Edwards has spent most of his time in the deep South living in makeshift studios in derelict buildings and garages. Edwards recently built his own house and studio from reclaimed materials on a friend's land in Mississippi and currently resides there.

Edwards' work is characterized by a unique, expressive depiction of the figure and an eye for detail, all locked within compositions that are violent and lyrical all at once. Generally, he employs a limited color palette that establishes mood while his obsessive drawing and mark making  provide an anxious counterpoint that bears the weight of his dramatic narratives.

Earlier subjects included street scenes and observed environmental motifs or highly personal takes on mythological and religious tales. More recent works tend to depict a lone protagonist struggling against insurmountable odds, as in his exhaustive explorations of  Bull Fighters and Lion Tamers.

Custer's Last Stand, 72 x 79 in.

Corner of the Tailor's Shop

The Last Supper

The Last Supper (Exxon)

72 x 79 in. 

In the Tailor's Shop

Soldiers (Vietnam Scene), 72 x 79 in.

Subway Scene

Bull Fighter Series

Bull Fighter Series

The Bull Fighter, 60 x 60 in.

Humpty Dumpty, 72 x 79 in.

Noah's Ark (unfinished),79 x 84 in.

Deposition from the Cross

Saint George and the Dragon, 72 x 79 in.

The Tailor's Shop

Subway Scene (Lorimer St.)

Pond in New Haven

 Lion Tamer Series

 Lion Tamer Series

The Lion Tamer, 72 x 79 in.

The Lion Tamer (detail of above)

 Bull Fighter Series

 Bull Fighter Series

Paul Edwards, at his home in Mississippi, 2012
photo: Paul Behnke

*Images of paintings are courtesy of the artist. All images ©Paul Edwards except for the artist's portrait ©Paul Behnke 2013.
**Titles are attributed by the blog author and are purely descriptive. 
***Sizes of works are approximations.


davidtmiller said...

Thanks for this post Paul. I was unaware of Edwards and I am now a big fan. There are kinships (in my eyes anyway) with some of my other favorite painters such as Colescott, Beckman and Grosz. I look forward to learning more about him.

Dik F. Liu said...

Excellent post, Paul. Edward is an excellent artist. He should be known more widely.

Paul Behnke said...

I Agree!
Thanks for taking a look and sharing.

Anonymous said...

Im glad u r doing fine , ur little brother,raymond lol

Anonymous said...

Hey moose,anybody ever tell u that u look like a cross between uncle art and a billy goat? Lol ray

Paul Behnke said...

Ray, please contact me @ paulbehnke@me.com

I have some news about Paul.

Anonymous said...

Ray this is missy roys girlfriend. He talked to paul and would like to talk to you. Email me at jmsmith22002@yahoo.com. thanks!

Anonymous said...

Paul Edwards: An Artist's Artist, R.I.P. 2014

Chris Swider said...

Where is it possible to see these paintings?
Chris Swider (chrisswider@gmail.com)

Anonymous said...

Most amazing work. Just amazing.

Unknown said...

I am the anonymous who wrote: Paul Edwards: An Artist's Artist, R.I.P. 2014. Paul and I were close during the time we were students at the Memphis Academy of Art. We spent many hours drinking instant coffee from shaving can tops, arguing for or against this or that artist, movement, book or what have you. Many hours always usually past dawn. In those days I was almost as close to Paul as anyone I had ever known, and I counted it as a blessing. I trusted him and welcomed and encouraged him as the artist I knew him to be. There were probably two or three others who knew Paul as I did during that time. We were all very fortunate to have been numbered in his company. He matter to us and he still does. To my benefit, he called me Brother. Stuart Mark Hayes