Painting is a medium that is quintessential to art, but it was also the central medium when art really played the societal function that illustration does now. Alex Paulus is one of those painters who could comfortably fit in either category, depending on the context (or who’s asking). His faux naive style work is quite flat, yet texturally rich with thick paint marks. The subject matter tends to edge towards the ridiculous. Messy portraits, with facial features sliding around the face like meatballs in a bowl of spaghetti, are a common preoccupation of the artist. Paulus’ characters are often sad, grotesque, or leading a an existence that makes one feel sorry for them.
Zooming out beyond portraits, landscape scenes with bright backgrounds, often blue, are also common. Here, the protagonists are engaged in various activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, watching entertainment, or less savoury depictions of the human condition, such as defecation. Paulus’ paintings elicit conflicting responses. There is delight at his use of colour and shape, but also disgust and sadness at the lives of his characters, as they reflect back to us the things we find shameful in society. Perhaps there is not much beyond the surface of his work, but it’s fun for an afternoon peruse all the same. Check out his Tumblr for more. He also regularly exhibits at Ro2 Art Gallery in Dallas.