Great storytellers, whatever the medium, have the ability to take the common themes of human existence and place them in alternative settings and situations as a way to explore our sense of self and connect us to each other. Both Kafka and Vonnegut come to mind. Colorado artist Paul Gillis accomplishes the same thing by narrating his stories with oil paints and watercolors.
Staging complex scenes using all of human history, from ancient alphabets and imagery such as the Tower of Babel to robotic protagonists and supernatural landscapes, Gillis explores the idea that as much as things change in the world, humans remain the same. His chimeras, positioned in surreal situations, tell the familiar story of people seeking their place in the world and with each other.
Gillis has lived in Colorado since 1967.
“I construct my paintings as stage settings where complexities of the world are reduced to a few actors and relationships. I like to keep in mind where we are coming from, and that it’s also where we’re going.”