Paulius Šliaupa is a Lithuanian painter of the younger generation who has already received recognition not only in Lithuania but in foreign countries as well.
The artist works in several areas. Painting is one of them. Having received his bachelor’s degree in painting from the Vilnius Academy of Arts (VAA) in 2013, Paulius Šliaupa also makes videos, takes pictures, writes texts, and in 2016 commenced his studies at VAA for the MA sculpture programme. The artist has held five solo exhibitions in Lithuania and took part in group exhibitions in Lithuania, Russia, Spain, and South Africa. He was also successfully presented at art fairs in Vilnius, Paris, Budapest, Cologne and Berlin. One of his paintings, “A Grey Day”, was bought in an auction held by the Rotary Club of Berlin.
Although abstract, Paulius’ paintings come from natural phenomena. The artist observes natural fragments: water flow, reflections, shimmer, or snow shine. These images remain deeply branded in the painter’s mind and, gradually reducing the recognisable contours, he starts revelation of the sensations and colours on the canvas. The artist is particularly interested in light experiences which, according to him, “are the simplest thing to convey visually, whether in plane or in space.” Therefore, he does not only paint them, but also takes on the direct capturing of the light – photography.
Another striking feature of Paulius’ paintings is their multilayerness. According to the artist himself, his paintings are “wrapped in time”, day by day continuing with one layer after another. Like a magician, he chooses for this a special time of day when the light falls very smoothly – early morning hours and few hours before nightfall. The creation of a multi-layer painting during the particular hours of the day turns into a ritual, in which the view of the streaks of light is permanently captured on the canvas. In addition, the coatings of paint, when hardened, create relief paintings with a rich texture that casts shadows itself. This makes the paintings work not only on the representational level but on that of the real world as well.
The paintings created by the artist also look at the source of light. However, the technical qualities determine the subtlety of these works – the light is creeping as if through the mists where the pale contours of unknown objects can be seen. We know from occasional names given to the pastels that these are fragments of houses, kitchens or railways. Thus, the Šliaupa’s glance slides over the world of bluish northern light leaving his reflections on canvas or paper.
In his videos, Paulius Šliaupa is interested in various forms of water encountered by the characters of his works in one way or another. These may be children eating spring snowflakes, or a surfer girl paddling into waves. All their encounters with nature are like allegories depicted in classical paintings that do not refer to specific individuals. Paulius’ characters, too, embody different states: admiration, guilt, and buoyant surprise. The artist’s camera observing them from far is static, but the associative assembling of images creates a sense of a very personal story.
Text by Deima Žuklytė-Gasperaitienė