‘The difference between making the painting and looking at the painting allows me to access different parts of myself.’

Paula MacArthur is a British painter, currently living in Kent. She attended the Royal Academy of Art, graduating in 1993, where she received the Royal Academy Schools Prize for painting. Her current work focuses on the light and depth of glass materials, using oil paint to create hyper-realistic paintings of gemstones and diamonds.

Recently, MacArthur has focused on two series of paintings, The Jewel and the Rococo series, that are closely aligned in concept. The Jewel series is a celebration of universal love and a commentary of the unrealistic ideals we seek to achieve. These later developed to contain obsessive, even deadly desires. The Rococo series emerged out of MacArthur’s concern for this, demonstrating the contrast between impulsion and repulsion. Both of the series are colour saturated, large in size still life pieces.

Welcoming the Viewer into the Artistic Process

MacArthur leaves the brush marks and layers visible to the viewer, so that they can focus on and appreciate the physicality needed to create her works. Thus, the first impression of beauty and riches simply becomes paint, reflecting metaphorically that all of this beauty is not as it seems. MacArthur also uses screen-printing to extend the colour and photographic imagery of her pieces and to contribute to their overall realism.

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