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John Spencer Paul
brooklyn, NY


ARTIST STATEMENT: The Climate In New York, 1972 till present The state of mind I aspire to in art is an argument and a romance, lured by the subject itself. Admittedly this approach is naïve- defined by a kind of cockeyed optimism in the language of painting - (and hopefully one’s ability to master and create surprising moments in it). In 1969 some of my peers believed in their chances to activate a canvas, to avoid stagnant forms. By “activate” I mean to manipulate and use the tools of color and line- to invent layered possibilities. There was high drama and some jargon, part American, part European. Traditions were to be left behind but how? The notions “the unconscious” and “auto suggestion,” or the famous “arena” is inherited from the legends of the New York School (Kline, De Kooning and Gorky)- the new heroes of painting- who were large in memory- doing something new and different from the painter kings of Paris. This is how I was influenced to think, about how painters should take an interest in their “subject,” as a point of departure. For me Knox Martin was the lead exponent of this view.

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  • Piggyback Skater 2
    oil on canvas
    although this uses "modern" and theatrical lighting and graphics, I did see a woman coasting on skates doing this , the rear bike wheel between her legs. She was tall

  • Back Room
    oil on canvas
    Max and Eustace, from my photo, back room of White Slab Palace, under Annika's rule

  • Little Bob
    oil on canvas
    from Bob Musial's archive, tacked to the Clubhouse wall, from photo by his father. Bob was concentrating on a bobby pin, which he was told was named after him

  • Massage2
    oil on canvas

  • Cruise To Nowhere 2
    oil on canvas
    my studio from 79- 05 was on Greenwich St in what is now Tribeca. We had a glorious river view, so the casino game idea came to me from bars and clubs.

  • Pay & Go
    oil on canvas
    I spent a lot of time in the 70s as an employee of the New York City Housing Authority in Coney Island. This is an imaginary scene of a boardwalk bar with a tidal wave coming in. Prophetic? Just primo

  • Castle 2
    oil on canvas
    I made a series of drawings and paintings about the Atlantic City casino scene, that had just popped up. Trump's Castle was the theme

  • Ladybout 2
    oil on canvas
    note from a trip to Bufalo for a Bill's game- sidetrip to a low level wrestling meet where local talent would bash and stomp each other. There were some has-been pro wrestlers there too: The Iro

  • Pilgrim
    oil on canvas
    In 2008 I had a show in Mexico. The curator, a dear friend, was passionate about provenance- and the illegal traffic in Pre Columbian Mexican art. I show her in the prow of a ship either rescuing or

  • Piggyback Skater 2
    oil on canvas
    This is the second of the theme, and GW Bush was President. You can almost make him out as the bike rider?

  • Untitled

  • Untitled

  • Bathers
    oil on canvas
    This is from my wife's archive, probably her grandmother in Brighton- a resort area for Londoners

  • Little Darlings
    oil on canvas
    This scene of girls riding is from an appropriated image. The photo was sampled in place, on a notice board. note the curve of the paper on the lower margin

  • Judy & Sidney In Garden
    oil on canvas
    This is from my wife's family archive, a London home in St. Johns Wood

  • Bike Girls
    oil on canvas
    In 2005 we moved to Brooklyn, near the Prospect Park. This is a kind of celebration of Brooklyn life taken from a previous composition.

  • Bake Shop Window
    oil on canvas
    The photo that started this was taken on 6th Ave and 50th in Manhattan. There was a lot of noise and reflection on the glass that I couldn't use. Also the lodge loft ceiling at the top of Mo

  • Two Sisters 3
    oil on canvas
    This is the third variation of a theme after the work of John Graham, who depicted women in stylized settings and costume.

  • Eye In The Sky
    oil on canvas
    This one was the culmination of scenes from casinos- adding in the JR Ewing Dallas character, and Orson Welles. There might even be my younger self endtering the fray on the right

  • Boy Girl
    oil on canvas
    this mode of working is from imagination, a stream of memory in art and personal memory

647 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217


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