Paul Waddell: BEAT-A-RETREAT 👀

1516 S Flower St. Los Angeles, CA 90015
Feb 20, 3 PM - 7 PM — ends Apr 24, 2021
BEAT-A-RETREAT What is that? What does BEAT-A-RETREAT mean? Why write about it here? Is it the name of a painting show and if it is what is it supposed to mean? Are Paul Waddell's paintings in the exhibition entitled BEAT-A-RETREAT supposed to mean something in reference to this title? Does BEAT-A-RETREAT mean that there is something of a retreat to be discovered in Paul Waddell's paintings? Does it mean that Paul Waddell has painted something that illustrates a type of retreat? Doesn't BEAT-A-RETREAT mean to retreat quickly from something? What would Paul Waddell's paintings show that would suggest a quick retreat? What would be retreating and what would it be retreating from? Or is BEAT-A-RETREAT a kind of command, an obligation or admonition, an order? Whom or what would Paul Waddell be ordering to retreat? Whom is Paul Waddel commanding to retreat and from what? Or is Paul Waddell telling us that he has already BEAT-A-RETREAT? Isn't BEAT-A-RETREAT the past tense of BEAT-A-RETREAT, too? Did Paul Waddell already BEAT-A-RETREAT? What would Paul Waddel have BEAT-A-RETREAT from? And why would he tell us he already did? Or is Paul Waddell telling us that he BEAT-A-RETREAT, that he defeated a retreat? Does Paul Waddell mean to say that he overcame a retreat? What retreat did Paul Waddell defeat? What retreat did he overcome? Or is Paul Waddell telling us to BEAT-A-RETREAT in that same manner of meaning? Is Paul Waddell telling us that we need to defeat a retreat? Is he ordering us to overcome a retreat? Is it a command to defeat a retreat that Paul Waddell is imposing on us? Or does Paul Waddell mean to inform us that we have already BEAT-A-RETREAT? Does Paul Waddell believe that we already overcame a retreat? That we defeated a retreat? Ok.. Do Paul Waddll's paintings in the exhibition entitled BEAT-A-RETREAT indicate that he or we overcame a retreat or that we must defeat a retreat or that he or we made a hasty retreat or that we must immediately now make a hasty RETREAT? One of those has to be it, or none at all... to be sure, probably

In his first solo exhibition with AERO SALON, Oklahoma City based artist Paul Waddell sets out a Borgesian array of seemingly disparate and unrelated images. There is a father changing his infant son's diaper in Waddell's studio. We see the huge face of a man with an eye patch and a wide-eyed parasitic thing on or near him. There are clusters of several earthlike planets arranged curiously close to each other in space. There are unidentified billionaires and various types of flora. There are dinosaurs, fragments of wondrous landscapes, hypertensive triangles. And there is a massive vertiginous interior that feels like an antechamber to the afterlife. Yet for all the heterogeneity of subjects, a feeling of narrative relatedness connects the paintings; a sense that billionaires are more related to dinosaurs than we would imagine, that a strange high climbing potted plant and planetary formations communicate with each other, intimately, directly, but also with and through landscapes, babies and their diaper changing fathers, through pulsing triangles and at all the terrifying and exhilarating frontiers of human being. And that what we see in Paul Waddell's paintings is what they are saying. And that by looking at them and contemplating them we become and are their translative, communicative mechanism at work.

Paul Waddell (b. 1983 Cottonwood AZ) currently resides in Oklahoma City. He received a BA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA in 2005. His work has been exhibited with galleries such as The Philbrook Museum, The Gilcrease Museum, Night Gallery, Honor Fraser Gallery, and Human Resources to name a few. Paul’s work has been written about in LA Weekly, ArtSlant, Time Out Boston, and Art papers, among others.

In BEAT-A-RETREAT Paul Waddell gives us many things to look at and to contemplate. A survey of types of things and their types prompts us to look deep into our past and our present by way of a singular visual poetics. Waddell describes his process this way:

Varnish is a way to make a lens out of goo, that light can travel through and make colors glow. Oil paint is good for describing decadent meaty flesh. The common graphite pencil captures and describes the incomprehensible scale of planets in space while bringing to human imaginative scale the doodle in a school notebook during class or lecture. Tearing huge watercolor paintings within the framework of performance art can provide a mark making tool in multidisciplinary practice, emulating tangents and arcs of energies and actions and enacting in personal and social theatre the surprising confluence of all things in the known and unknown universe.

The feeling of a connected communicative energy described here is enhanced by the provisional approach Waddell applies to painting. His is a process of thinking in paint; study, rumination and discovery through the practice of painting. It is rigorous, yet fluid. By way of and through the very invention of recipes of paint - testing viscosity, saturation, texture, color and transparency in the constant development of new material, and technical innovations of paint application with a keen eye on material and technical innovations in painting throughout history, along with the various subject matter and treatment of that matter, conventionally and inclusive of the breakthroughs beyond those conventions and an extrapolative and restless impulse to understand and realize the future of all of these creative and painterly developments, Waddell enacts processes of natural, human and non-humano-centric change and evolution. Painting becomes a microcosmic engagement with pre- and proto-historic development