These pages will host selected online versions
of Paul Gough's exhibitions, current and archived as they become available.
Drawology : Group exhibition Autumn 2013
curated by Nottingham Trent University, dates in Nottingham,
18th November 2013 - December 13th 2013
Touring UK in 2014
Drawing is said to have the ability to record both its own making
and the movement of the thoughts and body of the drawer. Bringing
together the work of several artists with differing practices, Drawology
aims to consider whether this premise is applicable to a specific
process or genre of drawing or whether it is applicable to drawing
The works in the exhibition represent an expanded field of contemporary
drawing in a Fine Art context to include: works on paper, performance,
moving image, installation, projections and three-dimensional drawings.
‘Write off the Map’
Group exhibition and project, St John
on Bethnal Green, London, 6th - 10th June 2013, curated by Amy Cutler
EDGE:LANDS. Drawings and Paintings by Paul Gough.
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution,
Jenyns Gallery, Bath, Somerset, 5th November - 30th November 2012
Paul Gough is interested in drawing in-between
places, liminal zones, waste grounds, empty places that were once
something and now have been allowed to lapse back into their habitual
shape. Look at his drawings of the former airbase at Greenham Common,
or the ash-heaps of the old north Somerset coalfield, the abandoned
village of Tyneham or the forlorn gullies on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
They are powerful evocations of absence and embedded memory. Writer
Marion Shoard coined these unloved, unseen and often unexplored spaces
as the ‘edge land’, a mysterious hinterland of brick piles
and rubbish tips, derelict industrial plant and ragged landfill, forlorn
filling stations and scruffy allotments, abandoned ordnance lying
amidst rogue plants.
Thirty years ago, the naturalist Richard Mabey in his book ‘The
Unofficial Countryside ‘, had also opened our eyes to the vitality
of these unkempt places. He, however, found little to cherish and
celebrate in these wasted hinterlands. Instead he marvelled at the
resilience of nature in such abject conditions, its refusal to be
ground down by toxic contagion.
Mabey's astonishment at the hardiness of nature is a reminder of another
astute observer of the English scene, the painter Paul Nash. Before
the Great War a modest painter of fluffy elms and vapid sunsets, Nash
was transformed by his experiences while serving as a British officer
on the Western Front in 1916.
In 1916, in a letter home he wrote of walking through a wood (or at
least what remained of it after recent shelling) when it was little
more than 'a place with an evil name, pitted and pocked with shells,
the trees torn to shreds, often reeking with poison gas’. A
few days later, to his great surprise, that 'most desolate ruinous
place'; was drastically changed. It was now 'a vivid green', bristling
with buds and fresh leaf growth:
'The most broken trees even had sprouted somewhere
and in the midst, from the depth of the wood's bruised heart poured
out the throbbing song of
Nash's ecstatic vision permeates Gough's recent
oeuvre. Over the past decade his drawings and paintings have reflected
a dread fascination with poetic dereliction and the quasi-industrial
sublime, borne of long sojourns in and around many such No-Man's-Lands.
a nightingale. Ridiculous mad incongruity! One can't think which
is the more absurd, the War or Nature...'
More recently, two young British poets have also wandered in (and
wondered of) the hinterlands that make up the British banlieue. To
Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts the wilderness is much closer
than any of us think. They describe the English edgeland as a set
of familiar yet ignored spaces, ‘passed through, negotiated,
unnamed, unacknowledged’, which are now the new wild places
on our very own doorsteps. Theirs is a compelling vision, shared in
Gough’s many images of former sites of battle, abandoned workings
and ancient slagheaps, a land riddled with trenches and troughs, adits
and mineholes, ivoried elm and wild buddleia.
Gough’s drawings are not representations of any one particular
scene. Instead they are accretions of places, spaces, times and seasons
brought together on to a single surface; they are sites of both legend
and anonymity, places emptied and yet full of emptiness, dis-membered
topographies that have had their constituent parts re-membered through
the act of drawing.
In his drawings, created over decades of measured practice, Gough
has laid vision to his own complicated, unkempt and previously unexamined
edgeland. He has made tangible those places that have long thrived
on disregard. In his work he meets the challenge that we should ‘put
aside our nostalgia for places we’ve never really known and
see them afresh’.
Remembrance and Restoration: Exploring the
Imagery of War, Resurrection and Recovery
Otter Gallery, Chichester, 19th November
2009 – 10th January 2010 (one person show)
To mark the 90th anniversary of the peace conferences
that were staged at the close of the Great War, the Otter Gallery
is hosting an exhibition of drawings, paintings and photographs that
explore the imagery of remembrance. At the heart of the show is the
Otter Gallery’s unique collection of studies for Stanley Spencer’s
‘Resurrection of the Soldiers’ which forms the end wall
of the Sandham Memorial Chapel at nearby Burghclere. Spencer died
50 years ago this year, and his work will be shown alongside contemporary
and contextual images which explore the representation of caring,
peace and recovery.
Curated by Paul Gough
Exhibition at National War Memorial Carillon Building (Part of Blow
Wellington, New Zealand, Wed 11
November - Sat 19 December 2009
Curated and Photographed by Jeremy Diggle
Paul Gough is a painter, broadcaster and writer and at the time of
this exhibition in 2009, became the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research,
Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange, at the University of the West of
England, after 12 years as their Executive Dean of Creative Arts.
Paul had also recently been the Chair of the Art and Design Panel
in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008, the United Kingdom’s
equivalent to New Zealand’s Performance Based Research Fund
His recent research covers the aesthetics of conflict, landscapes
of dereliction, and the iconography of commemoration. He has published
widely in art history, cultural geographies and material culture and
exhibits his paintings internationally. Paul’s large-scale history
paintings, with a strong military theme, are in many private and public
collections, including the Imperial War Museum, London and Canadian
War Museum, Ottawa. He has shown widely in UK and abroad, and has
had one-man shows in Canada, London, Manchester, Lancaster and Bristol.
He has a Masters in painting and a PhD in cultural history from the
Royal College of Art. His most recent book, about ten painters from
the Great War, is published this summer.
This exhibition, aptly located at the National War Memorial Carillon
building in Wellington, is a must see for all those interested in
exploring the visual cultures of war, memory, place and identity.
Paul Gough: iconography of commemoration
Paul Gough is interviewed by Radio New Zealand's Chris Laidlaw
for his Sunday Morning National
programme on 8 November 2009 in anticipation of his visit to Aotearoa,
New Zealand to participate in Blow '09,
Massey University's creative art festival (duration: 16'43)
Safia Gallery, Barcelona, Spain 14 March
– 2009; Vyom art Gallery, Jaipur, India, September 2009
ACiD members Professor paul Gough and John France are to feature in
an international exhibition at the Galleria Safia in Barcelona in
March 2009. The two artists will be showing two pieces of recent work
each. The Safia gallery opened in 1991 with the objective of supporting
and spreading knowledge of contemprary art, artists and prcatice to
all sections of the public. They support both projects by young and
new artists as well as those by established, recognised artists.
• View Gallery
Sir John Cheshire gallery, April - May
Two steps as the subject of a picture must inevitably provoke comment.
Where do they lead? Why are they significant in themselves? What are
they doing, literally, in the middle of nowhere? And who, therefore,
might ever use them?
Paul Gough’s picture ‘Mount’ is but one of a series
of works which invites such conjecture. Nor does it stop there. What
of the idea of steps? Do they suggest progress, ascent (or perhaps
descent), or are they just man-made objects in a natural, if starkly
The visual arts in themselves rarely provide straightforward explanations
but, in the odd juxtaposition of the familiar and the incongruous,
the artist here creates a particular mood of reflection.
To Jersey eyes it has a particular resonance. You might say that it
looked distinctly unreal except that a walk on Les Landes common reveals
many such images telling their own story. Progress, ascent, descent?
No, just a past conflict. The participants may have long departed
but the landscape retains such extraordinary traces operating both
on the level of historical artefacts, with their own narrative ready
to be ‘discovered’ by the historian, but also at the symbolic
level suggestive of the imposition of a foreign order on the natural
With a doctorate in First World War Art and a fascination with the
landscape of battle, Professor Gough is steeped in the traditions
of war iconography. While his work is of the imagination rather than
an attempt to render specific events, he knows that even an imagined
landscape has a voice of its own.
Artists have often found it easier to record conflict through such
‘voices’, partly, doubtless, for practical reasons but
also perhaps because the horrors of war often translate with some
difficulty to canvas or paper. As Robert Hughes once put it: “…
distortion of the human body in art seemed to many sensitive minds
to have no future – in fact, to be little more than an impertinence
or an intrusion…Reality had so far outstripped art that painting
was speechless. What could rival the testimony of the photograph?”
Perhaps for this reason some of the most evocative images of war deal
not with human carnage directly but rather with physical assault on
landscape. Paul Nash’s Void (1918), which was used to promote
the Barbican’s exhibition A Bitter Truth ten years ago, is a
case in point. There are soldiers, alive and dead, to be glimpsed
in miniature but prominence is rather given to shattered tree stumps,
furrowed earth and the ‘corpses’ of the broken machines
Lone trees and stark objects which testify to human intrusion into
landscape are images common to Paul Gough’s work. They occupy
the space from which man has been expelled, leaving only the uneasy
sense that some unspecified event is responsible for the silence and
Here, certainly, is peace but it is a peace which has been paid for
by an irrevocable alteration of the natural world, a world bathed
in the indeterminate light of the dream, or perhaps of the stage-set
consciously manipulated by the designer to heighten or remove shadow
by artificial means.
The fact that these works seem to acquire a special significance in
an Island whose landscape was transformed during the Occupation testifies
to the power of art over historical record whose very specificity
serves paradoxically to limit meaning. Paul Gough’s work is
not ‘about’ any particular conflict; it deals with the
relationship between memory and landscape.
Through images which seem to belong to a collective consciousness
or experience, we have a sense of the extent to which the natural
order of things has been subtly disturbed by the unseen influence
Watershed Media Centre, Bristol UK
Tuesday 25th September – Sunday 11th November 2001
The Architecture Centre, Bristol UK
Monday 1st October – Sunday 11th November 2001
Two Exhibitions by Paul Gough and invited artists
Two exhibitions of drawings, photographs and
photo-montage that examined the legacy of 20th century war in the
monumental architecture of our cities. Monuments are pivotal elements
in the city’s symbolic furniture, they function as forms of
civic art that help to contain and convey different levels of memory.
They are rarely sited without consideration of their role in a symbolic
topography and are often quite consciously situated to connect or
compete with existing nodes of collective remembering. As the embodiments
of power and memory, their meanings are rarely fixed and they still
provoke anxieties and dispute.
These shows were hosted by Watershed and The Architecture Centre,
Bristol in association with the Centre for Contextual, Public and
Commemorative Art at UWE Bristol and the Creative Urban Spaces Project,
Bristol. A fully illustrated catalogue will be available.
At the Watershed Paul Gough built a facsimile 2D model of the side
of the Bristol Cenotaph which is coated in newspaper from the Gulf
War and inscribed with the ‘high diction’ of remembrance
– ‘Glorious, Memory, Fallen’. It stands 10 inches
away from the wall like the fake buildings in a Western movie. Behind
is a huge paper ‘wreath’ of red and black poppies. During
the course of the 5 week show the surface of the cenotaph was altered
– Gough whitewashed, then painted it with blackboard paint,
later hanging it with white flags and other messages. As a final act
of contrition a grafitti was to be invited to spray the word 'Glorious'
across its lower half. The piece was dismantled at 2 minutes past
eleven on the 11th November 2001.
Also at the Watershed were photographs by
Peter Ayley, an architect, who has taken
a number of severe classical photographs of the silent cities on the
Western Front. One image ‘Grahams’ shows a vast monumental
wall of individually carved names – the sole memorial for those
lost without trace on the Somme.
At a parallel show at the Architecture Centre in Bristol Paul Gough
was showing a suite of large drawings (1 m x 1.3 m) on the theme of
monuments and commemorative form. The drawings emanate from years
of engagement with the iconography and aesthetics of memorialisation.
As an academic Professor Gough has published widely in the areas of
war art and memorials. Much of his work is based on regular fieldwork
in Normandy, the Somme, and the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. Some
of the fragments of metal, ceramic and wood brought back from these
sites of memory are incorporated into the drawings in this show.
These exhibitions were a unique collaboration between the Watershed
and the Architecture Centres in Bristol and have been supported by
the Research Centre for Contextual, Public and Commemorative Art (CPCA)
at UWE, Bristol and the Creative Urban Spaces Project, Bristol.
A fully illustrated catalogue with an introduction
by Andrew Kelly is available.