Paula McArdle was born 1971 in Staffordshire, graduated in Fine Art from Brighton University. She worked for the BBC in Graphic Design then went to the U.S.A. and worked in New Jersey. At the same time she was travelling extensively, painting and drawing scenes from village life.
Naive art has no past and no future. It captures the "now". Whereas the trained artist cannot ignore the art of his predecessors and contemporaries, naive artists work as if on a desert island, creating images of the world around them, mingled with their imagination, without the barrier of tradition.
The work of McArdle springs from a sense of joy and bemusement of the world around her. Sketching wherever she goes, she translates what she sees into her language of imagery, leading us gently into her dream world, giving us her insight into the curious and sometimes ungainly figures which people her world.
An innocent such as McArdle does not try to emulate a technique or mannerism of the artists of our history. They find their own technique, their minds untrammeled with rules or conventions. McArdle paints what she sees, either in her daily life ∨ in her imagination. The images are transferred directly from her consciousness to the paper without being filtered.
Sometimes her subjects are from our immediate world, but sometimes her eye is drected away from immediate reality, as though her vision places her subjects in a cultural landscape of her grandparents era. Sometimes her figured are dressed in antiquated costumes, as if a with a childlike magic the affinity between our sentiments of today and the past are being highlighted.
Her humanity is never far from the surface. Every scene has a discreet tongue in cheek feeling behind it. A gentle mockery of our sentiments and mores is ever present, but at the same time her work shows a love and compassion of a heart touched with a discreet wonder of "La Comedie Humaine".
Even her colours have a discreet feeling. Her preferences for shell pinks, soft greys, bluey greens and warm brown, show emotional significance. They are clues to the nature of the image. Her delight in texture, having worked in textiles is ever present and serves to give an underlying richness to the picture, creating sometimes a life of its own as certain areas of the picture become almost three dimensional.
Above all, the art of McArdle, Like all innocent Naive Art, is a pure manifestation of joy, which takes us back to the garden of Eden, into which we were all born and perhaps, in the words of Picasso, has been hidden from us by knowledge.
- Stoke City Museum - 1997
- Art Multiple, Dusseldorf - 1997
- Harrods London - 1998
- New York Expo - 1998