Paul Finn

Paul Finn (British)

Before any artist can know themselves they must come to know their context. Indeed the creative process itself could be seen as the visible attempt to establish and understand this context.

Writing in the 17th Century the French artist Nicolas Poussin conjectured:
“Art is not a different thing from nature, nor can it pass beyond nature’s boundaries. For that light of knowledge which by natural gift is scattered here and there and appears in different men in different times and places is collected into one body by art.”

Paul Finn is a fundamentally English artist; his childhood in Yorkshire, his art education at Ravensbourne and The Slade and his own long time professional commitment to the values of English Art education all reflect this fact.

His images, though, are rooted in a much wider awareness and appreciation of a more universal and transcendent culture that joins humanity in both spiritual and secular bonds. Whether it be the landscape of Yorkshire, Dorset, Northern Italy or indeed the Philippine archipelago each image is invested with the same intense scrutiny and lavished with the same weight of exquisite craft that underpins his relationship, as an intermediary, between his subject matter and the images they engender.

Paul has inherited an inclusive and universal notion of shared values that reflect the ultimate sanctity of man’s relationship with his environment. This inheritance, coming as it does from an association with individuals and ideas as far reaching as the much respected artists and teachers Kass Cohen, William Coldstream and Malcolm Hughes (who had experienced a time when life, art and culture were fundamentally threatened) informs the care, intensity and skill that Paul brings to the considered marks of his woodcuts, drawings and paintings as an optimistic, life affirming image of the continuity of landscape. Allied to this is a deep appreciation and understanding of the work of artists such as Samuel Palmer, Paul Nash and David Bomberg and the way they all sought to reflect the position of landscape as a reflection of the human psyche and the “genius loci” that connects all of us to our physical existence. For Paul Finn observation is the gateway to meaning and his art is the record of his constantly evolving journey.

Paul has exhibited his work since he left the Slade in the late 1970’s, including mixed exhibitions at The Whitechapel and Hayward galleries. Currently his work can be seen at the Rowley gallery in London and his prints were seen at The Russell Coates Museum in Bournemouth.

Huw Morgan
November 2009.