Review: Paul Winstanley
The painter translates seeing into feeling.          

Joseph R. Wolin


Paul Winstanley photorealistically paints nondescript places and anonymous figures- usually looking out of the picture and away from the viewer- in a soft focus manner à la Gerhard Richter. What this facile comparison neglects is the painstaking attention Winstanley pays to the transcription of color, light and atmosphere. City Moon, for instance, renders an airy hillside vista past a silhouetted conifer. A low cloud reflects a peachy glow from the setting sun, while the moon palely shines. High in the still light sky; pinpoints of incandescence from the headlights and house lights burn in the valley below. Man Smoking a Cigarette shows a hipster in mirrored shades outdoors in a garden on a frigid morning, his face faintly veiled by smoke. Yet despite the casual mundane beauty of the scene, it’s the way his red headphones smoulder against the slate blue of his hoodie and the deep greens of the foliage that quickens the image.

Two nearly identical canvasses, each titled Man Watching from a Car, derive from a single source photograph. Countless subtle differences in their making, however, keep them distinct; the late afternoon sunlight washes through the windshield more warmly orange in one, more coolly green in the other, incrementally shifting both mood and meaning. Like all of his works, these emanate stillness and quietude, actually seeming to dampen sound and emphasising the experience of looking. With considered - and considerable - nuance and deftness. Winstanley makes a case for the continuing relevance of painting and its capacity for translating seeing into feeling.


Time Out New York, October 2011