Paul Spencer’s rich allegorical works carry a duality that seems to comically prod at notions of human suffering while remaining empathetic to our wider collective experience. Grotesque mythological creatures sit alongside human figures in otherworldly scenes that seem to repeat an inevitable ending, one that the protagonist (sullied in expression) appears doomed to resign to. It is as though Spencer reincarnates this character across canvases only to subject them to another miserable fate.
Spencer says that his work addresses “the inevitability of our demise and how to live [with that knowledge].” The paradox of obscenity and the visually appealing serves to play on the complexity of such a quandary. His paintings employ a cartoon-like, fantasy quality underscored by bold, flat colours and thick, palpable lines. Meanwhile, Spencer’s characters are somehow endearing despite appearing so pathetic. Experienced all together, these qualities create a push and pull between unease and satire—Spencer’s method of working through vulnerability.
Spencer has exhibited in numerous venues across Melbourne and Sydney and at numerous regional galleries including Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Geelong Gallery. His work is held in the Artbank collection and in public and private collections throughout Australia.
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