Printmaker Paul Catherall returns to the South Bank gallery this spring for a thrilling retrospective, spanning 20 years of his bold and beautiful linocuts.
Taking in old classics, from his now iconic prints of Battersea Power Station, the National Theatre and Tate Modern, through commissions for high profile clients including the Southbank Centre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Transport for London to new, more abstract architectural pieces, this show brings together some of Catherall’s best known artworks and displays his signature style and movement to mastery of the linocutting medium.
Drawing on the best traditions of classic midcentury poster design, Paul utilises his expert eye for composition and colour to inject his prints with fresh energy, dragging old icons kicking and screaming into the 21st century and imbuing new buildings with a nostalgic edge.
One of Transport for London’s most prolific poster artists of recent years, Paul began his career as a figurative illustrator, creating commissions for clients such as Marston’s Brewery, the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph and Harper Collins.
He came to printmaking in 1998, drawn to the handcrafted, step-by-step process of linocutting since he first encountered it at college, and inspired to create a series of London images to mark how the city was changing as the Millennium approached.
“The Millennium Dome was being built, Bankside was being converted to Tate Modern. I wanted to capture that moment,” he recalls.
Following a series of hugely successful London solo shows, Paul’s work was spotted by Transport for London’s Poster Art Commissioner Michael Walton, who remembers being “electrified” by a flyer for one of those exhibitions.
Michael Walton says: “The rest is history. Transport for London has commissioned and displayed many works by Paul and his first for us, Tate Modern [above], is a reminder of his huge talent, which, enhanced by time, has developed into what I consider to be the foremost linocut artist at work today.
“Paul’s work resonates with anyone with a love of architecture, and his own passions translate with a simplicity of form that belies the immense work that each piece requires. In many ways Paul is the master of ‘less is more’.
Over the past two decades high profile clients have included British Airways; the Royal Shakespeare Company to commemorate the transformation of its Stratford theatres in 2010; a series of limited edition linocuts of the Southbank Centre commissioned from 2008 to 2013; and, most recently, an image of the historic Iron Bridge at Telford for a hugely popular English Heritage campaign to restore and conserve it.
Book covers include The Cloudspotter’s Guide, Armistead Maupin’s Michael Tolliver Lives and a much-fêted Penguin reissue of George Orwell’s classic Down and Out in Paris and London.
Futures Past shows the range of his works, from Brutalist and Modernist semi-abstract pieces through to pastoral landscapes and figurative commissions.