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Paul G. Oxborough: Recent Works

Cavalier Gallery
Nov 02 Through Dec 09 | Thu |
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New York, NY – Cavalier Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of the paintings of Paul G. Oxborough, on view in our West 24th Street gallery from November 2 through December 9, 2023. The exhibition consists of new works by the artist including many of his signature bar and restaurant scenes and marks the publication of a new monograph that surveys highlights of Oxborough’s career to date.

Paul G. Oxborough's mastery as a painter has been firmly established over a decades-long career. His ability to render light in a room has been compared to the work of Velázquez; the sensitivity and drama of his portraits to the talents of Rembrandt; and the fluidity and bravura of his brushstrokes to John Singer Sargent's impressionist flair. Rooted in tradition, Oxborough's work is both contemporary and timeless. The artist seeks inspiration in world travel and finds himself drawn time and again to the challenges of capturing light on canvas in myriad forms—natural and artificial, sun rays and candle flames, bulbs and screens, and countless reflections. Light dances in his signature bar and hotel scenes as it illuminates faces, bounces off glasses, bottles, and mirrors, defines fabrics and reveals textures and colors. As this luminescence moves around the canvas, so do the eyes of the viewer, and the enchanting scene becomes a living moment.

Freddy’s Bar and Old King Cole, both 2023 paintings, are stunning examples of what Oxborough does best, creating a perfect blend of reality and romance animated by the movement of light across the picture plane. Oxborough places the staff members at Freddy’s Bar in Amsterdam and the King Cole Bar in New York City center stage, with their vested uniforms distinguishing their service role and their craft elevated to a sort of performance art. The bartenders at Freddy’s are swimming in a sea of reflections; one is tempted to begin counting the bottles and glasses that shimmer along the mirrored shelves and echo off the gleaming bar. At the King Cole, Oxborough pays homage to his artistic predecessor Maxfield Parrish (1870–1966), whose mural depicting the nursery rhyme’s “merry old soul” provides a regal backdrop to the choreography of the workers’ fluid movements. Light flickers and shines, burns and fades, on glass, wood, fabric, metal, but nowhere is it more sensitively rendered than on the faces of the people in Oxborough’s paintings. There, the artist’s brush illuminates their thoughts and features, giving them a depth of humanity thoroughly distinguished from their distractingly beautiful environments.

Oxborough has won numerous awards for his portraiture, which has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the National Portrait Gallery in London, among other museums in the U.S. and Europe. He is a four-time participant in the BP Portrait Award exhibition, recognized as the most prestigious portrait painting competition in the world. Oxborough was invited several times to contribute paintings to the UK’s National Portrait Gala, an annual charity event hosted by the British Royal Family. Oxborough’s paintings are part of the collections of Oxford University (England), the Minnesota State Capitol, The New Salem Museum, and many other private and institutional collections.

In addition to portraits and bar scenes, Oxborough’s figure paintings include landscapes and marine scenes, city scenes, and domestic interiors, with settings drawn from his travels around the world—a street in Dublin, a bar in Shanghai, the desert in Botswana. No matter the subject, Oxborough’s command of light is a defining feature of his work as is the poetry of his art. What is left undescribed is every bit as important as that which is delineated in paint. His work has a narrative allure that inspires wonderment: viewers are free to imagine what happened just before this moment captured on canvas, and what might transpire next.

Hotel Hassler Roma, a 2023 painting derived from Oxborough’s travels in Italy, is a great example. It is a technical tour-de-force, with the heart of the painting illustrating the view through, and reflection of, the revolving glass doors and entry of the historic hotel. Again, in this scene, the artist focuses on the staff not the patrons, locals rather than tourists, the people who give a place its unique character. But its magic is in its mystery and movement, a sort of film still quality. Who will walk through those doors next? What is distracting the hotel attendant who’s looking off to the side? Is this seeming moment of tranquility following a commotion or anticipating a grand entrance?

People become enamored by Oxborough’s paintings for a variety of reasons: they can readily associate a contemporary painter with one whose work they’ve seen in a museum, making comparisons in subject or form with artists like Vermeer or Rembrandt, Velázquez or Degas, Whistler or Manet; there is a feeling of familiarity, of tradition, of artistic lineage that is respected and admired; they come to the work with a pure appreciation of its technical merits or are drawn by the specific content, for example, a shared memory of a certain place. Not to be underestimated, however, is the warm invitation every Oxborough painting offers, an invitation to enter a moment, experience a place, and share in the artist’s joie de vivre.

The public is invited to meet the artist at the opening reception on Thursday, November 2, from 6:00–8:00 p.m. Gallery hours at the 530 W 24th Street location are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and by appointment. Visit cavaliergalleries.com to view the exhibition online.

Venue: Cavalier Gallery

530 W 24th Street Map
203-331-2706