Paul Woods
Visual Artist

Artist Statement


My work is essentially a synthesis between two prime interests, the visual imagery of military history and the subsequent depiction of these images through the medium of painting. Therefore, the paintings which result from this process can be described as paintings about history, as oppose to the traditional genre of history painting itself.  

My inspiration is derived from selected photographic war images, which function as a source motif. Once selected, these images form a matrix, which the painting process transforms into works that illustrate and bear testament to my internal and external relationship to the subject matter at hand. I believe, the inherent power and poignancy of these photographic war images have now diminished in today’s society. This is due to the overexposure and saturation of this imagery trough its use and distribution by the media. The result is that these images have become entirely permissible in today’s society. The poignancy and historical memory of these images are thus forgotten and rendered impotent. 

I strongly believe that painting can recharge and recreate the visual significance of war imagery, and employ it to offer moral instruction on our obligations of as human beings in today’s society. Paintings on the subject of warfare and atrocity can also educate and inform people on the tragedy of the human condition through the ages. Painting is therefore given the means to reflect back to the audience the world we live in today, with its own pressing issues of war and conflict. In my work I place emphasis on large scale compositions in order to immerse the spectator into the subject matter of the painting. An aesthetic use of colour is also employed with the intention to visually entice the viewer and to generate an expression of hope. My intention therefore is to filter war imagery through the medium of paint, so that the paintings become autonomous vessels of charged potency illustrating a past we have barely dealt with or have the desire to come to terms with.