The January 23 edition of the Liverpool Echo featured an interview with the Walker Gallery's head of fine art discussing Sir Paul's art exhibit which is scheduled to be shown from May 24 to August 4 of this year. The show will include 70 oil paintings and two new photographic works.
Mr. Simpson is impressed with Sir Paul's talent as an artist: "I really think Paul's work is of real quality, and we would have taken it seriously no matter who it was by. None of this will be seen in London, which we are very chuffed about. Anyone who wants to see it will have to come to Liverpool."
You may recall that Sir Paul's first exhibit was held in Siegen, Germany in 1999. Mr. Simpson explains, "It was a deliberate decision by Paul for a low-key venue away from the UK. You can't blame him. An artist working in a studio never quite knows what other people are going to say when they see the work. But Paul McCartney is a genuinely modest man when it comes to his art work."
Mr. Simpson has visited the studios in Sir Paul's homes, and a London warehouse where most of the pictures are stored. He claims not to be over-awed with working with a former Beatle. He says, "I was never a Beatles fan. There are two types of celebrity painter: Those who trade on the fact, and those who are actually so creative that things just bubble out of them in all sorts of ways. Paul is in the latter category. He is one of the most creative people I have ever met. It's quite humbling to be in the company of someone who's so constantly involved in different artistic things."
Sir Paul's best work, according to Mr. Simpson, is Big Mountain Face, "This was painted recently, and shows the artist at his most confident. Paul doesn't have a set pattern in doing his paintings, and he doesn't paint every day. He may be in his New York apartment or one of his homes in England and just decide to pick up a brush. It all depends what sort of mood he's in. Previously, he had never been working towards an official exhibition, so painting has become increasingly important. Before, it had been a hobby when he wanted a break from music.
"I love working with contemporary artists, and what has made this such a joy is that Paul is so genuine about it all. He's always going into galleries on his travels. He's probably seen more art than I have. He particularly likes the work of the French surrealist Rene Magritte, and the late American abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning, whom he met more than 20 years ago. That said, he has been in the company of artists ever since his Beatle days. His knowledge is very impressive.
"Paul was instrumental in getting Peter Blake to do the Sgt. Pepper record sleeve and Richard Hamilton to do the White Album. Now Paul's art is going off in a whole new direction, and it's a brave decision to show some of these brand new works in Liverpool. He genuinely loves coming back to his home city, and he wants the exhibition here to be the best.
"For my part, I wanted to show the diversity of what he has done: large, small, highly colored, black and white, abstract and figurative. He really has experimented, and I am convinced that painting is now a key element in his creative life, and that he uses it to express how he feels."
The Walker Gallery has been closed to the public in order that building work and gallery improvements may be completed. The Gallery will re-open on February 8.
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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