Paula MacArthur graduated from the Royal Academy in 1993 where she was awarded the Royal Academy Schools Prize for painting. Now living in Kent and working in Sussex she has been developing two series of paintings which are strongly interlinked both in process and concept. These are large in scale, colour-saturated still lives which to aim to explore the relationship between temptation and repulsion and which she describes as ‘over-sized momento-mori which at a distance appear cohesive, perhaps even photographic, but as the viewer approaches each painting, the paint itself – the brush marks, layers and drips – come into focus, the illusion disappears and the viewer can experience the physicality of the process and is immersed in the expanse of luminous colour. The illusion of beauty and riches becomes just paint; it both defines and denies the subject and these objects of desire decay in front of our eyes.’
Paula won First Prize Winner in the John Player Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, London and was also a Prize winner in the John Moores 18, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Her work is held in numerous collections including The National Portrait Gallery, London, the collection of Baron and Baroness von Oppenheim and The Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, London. She has given lectures on her work at Walker Art Gallery, Norwich University for the Arts, Jerwood Gallery, Hastings and at Glasgow Artist Guild. She runs the De La Warr Pavilion Artists Discussion Group and coordinates the exhibition programme at Rye Creative Centre as well as working on outside curatorial projects which include ‘Disturbance’, ‘Slippery and Amorphous’ and ‘Correspond’.