Flat Earth by Paul Cousins is inspired by a 15th century grisaille painting by Hieronymous Bosch that depicts the third day of the creation of the world.
“Flat Earth is based on the image Bosch painted on the closed shutters of the triptych that, when open, shows The Garden of Earthly Delights. My version of Bosch’s world in creation shows the same view updated to reveal a heavily polluted and claustrophobic industrialized landscape, which echoes my interest in environmental issues.
In the early 1970s I developed a series of etchings based on environmental themes which were considered very unfashionable at the time. It was part of my search for a meaning and message to the subject of “Landscape”. They were inspired by the demise of the dinosaurs, and parallel the course set by humankind and our own possible self-destruction as a consequence of our actions.
The etchings enjoyed early success in a mixed print exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in London in the summer of 1972 and an Arts Council touring exhibition of Sweden the same year.
As my work progressed through the 1970s I continued to paint landscape with considerable enthusiasm, but confined the environmental message to a subtext, not least because it was yet to become an acceptable part of the political and public arena.
Today I feel justified in making such comments in my work and am able to strike a balance between the visually aesthetic, through colour and composition, and the subject matter, which can not only celebrate but also challenge our perceptions of the environment.”
Paul graduated from Liverpool College of Art in 1972 with a degree in Graphic Illustration, and was awarded the John Moores Scholarship which he used to develop his painting style, technique and subject matter.
Paul’s painting Thin Air was acquired by the Atkinson Art Gallery Collection and can be seen by clicking here.
His art is also in the permanent collection of St Helens Council which is housed at The World of Glass, where Hand Drawn, the Society’s next members-only exhibition, will take place from 23 March to 18 May 2013.
Paul is organizing the exhibition, which celebrates drawing by hand with 88 works of art by Society members around the UK. Among his other artworks Paul will be exhibiting Flat Earth.