Evoking powerful emotions through the artistic retelling of recent current events, Denver artist Paul Weiner uses a variety of mediums, from paintings to sculptures, to recreate an experience for the viewer with his collections currently featured at the newly opened Restoration Hardware in Cherry Creek.
Describe your signature style.
My art exists at the intersection of conceptual art and painting. What that essentially means is that the style is determined by the content. Right now that content focuses on acts of mass violence and domestic and international terrorism, and I latch onto the symbols associated with those acts. These symbols lead me to create minimal paintings and other artwork that mesh into one larger work. My paintings themselves are often torn or look beaten, like they’ve been bruised. I like that aesthetic because it reflects the violent acts that inspired the paintings.
Tell me about your recent work, amicus curiea, case file, Aurora collection, which deals with the 2012 Aurora theater shooting and is currently featured at the Restoration Hardware in Denver. What message are you conveying here?
One of the things I like to get at in my art is the historical documentation of these violent events. Art presents the opportunity to explore history through an emotional lens. It’s still rooted in facts, but these events are chaotic and confusing, and I can create that sense with my artwork. There aren’t really any specific policy proposals that my art stands for, and I’m more interested in documenting the diverse ideas behind these attacks in an emotional way. There are so many different ways to see all of these violent events happening right now. It’s all about your perception.
Your art encompasses a variety of mediums. How do they all work together?
I see everything as a painting and my art is very visual. My paintings, prints, and sculptures are all meant to be seen in the same space. The goal is to place these abused paintings on top of a screen printed space where you can get lost in the sheer size and be transported into another world, which was my goal in the roughly 30’ x 12’ installation I made during my residency at Miscellaneous Press in Los Angeles. The spatial relationships between these monumentally sized two-dimensional spaces and three-dimensional pieces deliver a context where the viewer can relive the haunting violence of these events.
How does color, or the absence of it, play into your art?
Color is tricky. Since my work is determined by the concept, the color is determined by the content too. In my recent work on the Aurora theater shooting, one inspiration was the collection of redacted legal court documents, so emphasizing those redacted areas really called for a lot of black. At the same time, I drew color from some of the sculpture objects and created pink and red-toned paintings based on the stripes you see on most commercial popcorn boxes.
Has your style undergone an evolution since you first started painting? If so, how has it changed?
My art is changing all the time, and it fluctuates depending on the content, what’s in the news currently, and what’s not in the news anymore but worth remembering. As new current events happen, I start to include new symbols into my paintings together with the old ones. One of the things I find most interesting is that the paintings and the ideas are evolving at the same time as current events are evolving.
Art presents the opportunity to explore history through an emotional lens.
My art is changing all the time, and it fluctuates depending on the content, what’s in the news currently, and what’s not in the news anymore but worth remembering.