A great diversity of climates and agricultural traditions have played their part in shaping Poul Webb’s vision of landscape, none more so than the tobacco fields and mogotes of Cuba’s Viñales valley. But it is to the Mediterranean world that he always seems most powerfully drawn. From Provence’s vineyards to the olive and almond groves of Andalucía, the region has been a focus for more than half of Webb’s solo exhibitions over some thirty years. The exuberant drama of Webb’s approach – the artist typically oscillates between perspectival depth and semi-abstraction on a two dimensional plane, keeping the viewer’s eye always on the move – becomes the expression of a more comprehensive response to the full experience of his subjects, a window of heightened perception that provokes his dynamic handling of colour and texture.
‘Poul Webb’s art is the art of close focus on the familiar, on things so commonplace that they are never noticed – and here they suddenly are, edged by the eye of a painter into a heightened reality that stops well short of hallucination, yet has the quality of a waking dream… His technical mastery is never obtrusive – but to anyone who has ever dabbled with watercolour in a hot climate and seen the paper cockle and the gentle washes dry harsh, it must be a matter of envy and admiration… Webb jogs us into the gentle discomfort of the sharpened eye, and with deft certainty neatly reminds us that nostalgia, sentiment, curiosity and delight are still legitimate door to perception.’
POUL WEBB was born in Cambridge in 1947 and educated at the Cambridge School of Art. Soon after he graduated, his work was exhibited at the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition and in 1973 in the British International Drawing Biennale at Bradford. In the mid 1970s he showed twice in major International Exhibitions of Original Drawings at the Museum of Modern Art in Rijeka and work of his was acquired at this time by H.M. Government Art Collection. In 1987 he was one of Ten British Watercolourists shown at the Museum of Fine Arts, Bilbao. Since 1990 Poul Webb has worked largely in oils, a development accompanying his preference for a time for subject matter drawn from the Americas. He has been represented by Francis Kyle Gallery since 1978 and in 1979 exhibited his Watercolours of Calabria. This was followed by Watercolours of Morocco (1981), Watercolours of the Aegean (1984), Watercolours of the Caribbean (1986), Tropical Deco: Paintings of Miami and the Florida Keys (1988), Paintings of New Orleans (1990), In Cuba (1998), On the Weald (2000), In Provence (2002), In Tuscany and California (2004), In the Douro Valley (2006), In Andalucía (2008), In Kerala (2010) and Islands (2012). In 2005 Poul Webb was a major participant in the Gallery’s theme exhibition Lair of The Leopard: twenty artists go in search of Lampedusa’s Sicily (2005) and several of his paintings appear in Lair of The Leopard (Third Millennium Publishing, London, 2006). In 2006 his paintings featured in Everyone Sang: a view of Siegfried Sassoon and his world by twenty-five painters today. Poul Webb is a published poet with two collections in print: Shades of Grey (Boho Press, 2006) and The Colour of French (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2012).
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