Paul Mason collage exhibition

Halton based artist Paul Mason delves into his collection which he has exhibited across the UK and further afield over the last 25 years


January 8, 2024

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Paul Mason collage exhibition

Paul will be hosting a launch event for the exhibition, from 7pm on Friday January 12, 2024.

All are welcome to attend.

Here, Paul tells us more about his work, and what you can expect from the exhibition, which runs until February 9...

The work I am showing at Halton Mill is a collection of pieces in my possession that were originally made for other exhibition venues in various locations in the UK and further afield, over the past twenty five years.

I  specialised in sculptural ceramics at Art College but over time this has expanded to incorporate mixed media assemblage using a wide variety of resistant materials and incidentally found objects.

Basically if I was allowed one word to describe myself Collagist is the one that seems most appropriate.

Although I have been involved in education for all of my full time career, teaching mainly on the one year Art and Design Foundation course and on BA(hons) Fine Art courses, I always considered it important to be producing and exhibiting my own work.

Teaching at this level demands that you are fully conversant with latest developments and with a contextual understanding of art and design in its widest sense and being involved in the gallery world certainly enable you to do this.

Over a period of forty years I have had numerous lines of enquiry running through my work.

I have a recurrent obsession with World War One and the technology associated with it.

The incredible melancholy, savagery and futility it evokes is rich in imagery.

I have produced several series of works on this subject.

More recently my interests have centred around concerns for the natural world and how human activity is impacting it.

This seems to be a rapidly accelerating process and despite international events focusing on climate change and environmental damage the more pessimistic side of my nature leans towards a feeling that we, the human race, have already gone past the point of no return and that all we can do now is follow a damage limitation exercise.

Many of my ideas come from my lifelong interest in collecting.

I have considerable collections of advertising ephemera, cigarette cards, animal and bird skulls, fossils and shells, twentieth century tinplate toys and vinyl records.

The nostalgia generated by this material is indeed a very powerful force and has provided me with links and associations throughout my working life.

Drawing is a really important element in my studio practice, I keep sketchbooks around me all the time these consist of drawings and developments but I also include collaged images and collections of all kinds of visual material within the pages, often things that I collected ten years ago or more suddenly become pertinent to a particular line of enquiry I am following.

There are several artists who have inevitably been influential in my personal development.

Kurt Schwitters, Raoul Haussman, Joseph Cornell, Peter Blake, Max Ernst and Eduardo Paolozzi.

The common denominator is that they are all collagists.

Ernst described collage as “A meeting of two or more separate realities on a plane foreign to them both”.

Paolozzi stated that “The history of mankind can be written with objects a continual diary of opposites man as engineer nature as fabricator”

I hope that this small exhibition at Halton Mill proves to be of interest to its visitors because I really believe that the spirit of the Mill has been enormously important to the cultural life of the village and I feel very pleased to have made a contribution to it.