With Coventry designated as the UK City of Culture for 2021, and with many of its post-war architectural masterpieces under threat, printmaker Paul Catherall thought it was a timely opportunity to create a body of work that reflects on the unique beauty of his hometown.
If you're familiar with Paul, you'll know he is an artist beloved for his linocuts of brutalist and modernist architecture that are both nostalgic and contemporary. This latest series plays on the phrase 'Sent to Coventry', and features the beauty of the city's buildings, the textures of concrete, and the "grit of the modern".
The works were supposed to go on show in an exhibition at London's Eames Fine Art Gallery this May, but this has been postponed until further notice. In the meantime, Paul wanted to share his artworks to reveal the "underrated beauty" of his home city and its iconic architecture that he feels "should be preserved", and relates that aesthetic to views of London, where he lives now.
Another timely element of the series relates to artist and designer William Mitchell, who passed away on 30 January 2020, the day after Paul completed the linocut titled, Three Tuns – inspired by Mitchell's concrete sculptural mural at The Three Tuns pub, Bull Yard. Like much of the architecture in Coventry, Mitchell's public artworks are in danger of being removed from their historical sites or demolished altogether.
Since the late 1990s, Paul has worked predominantly in linocuts. His work builds up seemingly abstract blocks of colour into balanced compositions which unite as one representational whole. Cézanne and Sickert have been a recurrent influence on his use of colour and construction of form. He also greatly admires the progressive commercial designers of the 1920s and 1930s, particularly Edward McKnight Kauffer and Tom Purvis. Paul's work has featured on posters for Transport for London, British Airways, and Marks and Spencer, as well as on book covers for Bloomsbury and Harper Collins. He has also been commissioned by Faber and Faber, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Southbank Centre.
If you'd like to view or purchase a linocut print by Paul Catherall's Sent to Coventry exhibition, go to eamesfineart.com. You can also sign up the gallery's mailing list via its website, to receive an invitation once the new show dates are announced.