Meet Paul Owen Weiner

In the lead up to Paul's show In the Balance with Kimberly Rowe, we thought we'd share a little insight into the Denver based artists current body of work.

Paul's recent works deal with the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, which occurred in the Denver community the artist grew up in and lived in at the time of the shooting. This disaster, in which 82 people were killed or injured, reopened a traumatic wound in the Denver metro area, which has been plagued by active shooter incidents since the 1999 Columbine massacre. 

These particular works in the exhibition reference the legal documents that followed the theater shooting, many of which were heavily redacted for years leading up to the trial. Paul began directly copying the blacked out and censored areas from these documents into his paintings, which appear to be redacted. The process of redaction has evolved into a symbol that transcends this particular trial as a reference to the culture surrounding the handling of sensitive information. Since the completion of the trial, Paul's work has also evolved to comment on the constant deluge of mass violence that is now dominating the media. On a formal level, the paintings display a gritty, dirty appearance that is intertwined with a conceptual reference to violence. In the studio, Paul drags and throws his paintings across the space so as to accumulate the detritus of these actions. He also slices, steps on, and beats them until they are blemished and bruised. The visual dichotomy between these minimal swaths of black and the abused, gritty appearance of the canvas develops into a clumsy paint handling juxtaposed against distinct and sharp lines. In this sense, the paintings explore uncharted territory for the sublime: flat and minimal yet dirty, painterly, and violent.

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