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Review: Paul P. at Marc Selwyn Fine Art

December 18, 2008 |  4:45 pm

Untitled pastel by Paul P.

If daydreams had daydreams, they might look like Paul P.’s intimate little pictures of people and places that are so breathlessly beautiful it’s hard to imagine they are not fantasies. At Marc Selwyn Fine Art, 32 works on paper and canvas in oil, watercolor, pastel, pencil, crayon, drypoint and chine collé give delirious form to the Paris-based artist’s vision of two very real cities: Venice, Italy, and Venice, Calif. To see these places through the 32-year-old’s eyes is to get lost in an ethereal world in which reverie wraps itself around reality and longing kicks into high gear.

Neither Venice ever looked better. Paul P. specializes in standard tourist views, and many of his images are no bigger than postcards. But what he does with line, making it simultaneously loose and precise, and the way he massages light from darkness, making space sing, is absolutely magical.

None of his works ever feels fussed over, but every touch of the brush, crayon or pencil is exquisite, conveying just the right combination of control and abandon, drive and lassitude, melancholy and wonder. There’s some of James Abbott McNeil Whistler’s restless Romanticism in Paul P.’s extraordinarily gorgeous art, which inhabits the 19th century as comfortably as it lives in the 21st.

-- David Pagel

Marc Selwyn Fine Art, 6222 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 101, L.A., (323) 933-9911, through Jan. 24. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Above: An untitled pastel on paper (2008) by Paul P. Credit: Marc Selwyn Fine Art