Selected Reviews & Publications:
Le Figaroscope, Sophie de Santis (2019): Paul Pagk, Galerie Eric Dupont, Paris; La couleur musicale des toiles mathématiques de Paul Pagk
“On plonge dans les toiles abstraites de Paul Pagk comme dans une piscine d’eau douce. L’éclat des pigments purs qu’il broie lui-même à l’huile apporte cette profondeur vert turquoise, jaune soleil, rouge vermillon à ses très grands formats ... Le regard s’y perd avec délectation. À peine distrait par des lignes tracées à main levée, qui semblent répondre à un schéma mathématique. Mais Paul Pagk assure qu’il n’en est rien. Tout est intuitif, jamais tracé d’avance. Il serait plutôt influencé par les notes dansantes du jazz. Rendant même hommage au Duke avec des portées de musique dansant dans l’espace. On pourrait identifier aussi des circuits de microprocesseurs ou même des dessins d’une architecture imaginaire. Influencé par les maîtres de l’abstraction (de Mondrian à Ellsworth Kelly), Paul Pagk, 57 ans, installé à New York, connaît la musique. Comme dans un chant choral, ses monochromes se font écho en toute harmonie”.
The Musical Color of Paul Pagk (translated): "One plunges into Paul Pagk’s abstract paintings as though into a freshwater pool. The radiance of pure pigments - turquoise green, sunshine yellow, vermillion red, all hand-ground by the artist in oil - brings depth to his large scale paintings. The gaze wanders, lost in delight; barely distracted by freehand-drawn lines that seem to follow some mathematical formula. Paul Pagk insists that there is none: everything is intuitive, never pre-planned. He might rather be influenced by the dancing notes of jazz, even paying tribute to the Duke with staves of music dancing across the painterly space. One could also identify microprocessor circuits or even drawings of imaginary architecture. Influenced by masters of abstraction (from Mondrian to Ellsworth Kelly), the New York-based 57-year-old Paul Pagk knows the music. Like in a choral composition, his monochromes echo in complete harmony.”
Artnet Editors’ Picks, Caroline Goldstein (2017): 11 Things to See in New York This Week
"In the sparse white cube of ART 3 Gallery, three artists present works in varying media. David Goerk, Paul Pagk, and Marjorie Welish all work with color to investigate abstraction". (Full article here)
"Eric Dupont a regroupé cinq artistes de sa galerie pour partager son regard sur l’art, amener les visiteurs à s’étonner comme lui même a été étonné, et les emmener sur le chemin d’un exil essentiel, vers les mondes des artistes. Deux toiles de Paul Pagk illustrent deux facettes de la pratique du peintre : Les Baigneuses, réalisé en 1983, appartiennent au registre figuratif tandis qu’une autre huile sur toile sans titre réalisée en 1992 est représentative de l’abstraction que Paul Pagk a plus largement explorée. L’une comme l’autre témoignent en revanche de l’importance de la lumière et de la couleur dans son travail dédié à une expérience très physique de la peinture". (Full article here)
"Like Blinky Palermo, Ellsworth Kelly or Peter Halley, the artist creates a kind of sensorial abstraction … His works with their luminous, vibrant colors fully embrace the viewer’s presence. The materiality and generosity of the formats give rise to a physical experience of paintings." Translation, C. Penwarden. (Full article here)
“A cult figure, a painter’s painter, the critic’s favorite, Paul Pagk is an artist whose import is whispered rather than shouted, a secret shared by connoisseurs, his name like a clandestine password amongst an entire younger generation now exploring abstraction” (Full article here)
"Paul Pagk’s lush surfaces of monochromatic, slow colored oil paint inscribed with idiosyncratic geometric shapes produce a potent logic of sensation that seemed to have disappeared long ago from the playbook of abstract painting, that is assuming it ever was part of its vocabulary in such a way in the first place. The subtle balance struck between the fragile and the assertive pictorial elements in each painting renewed, one graphic impulse, one line, one dominant color and surface finish at a time, offers a generous range of somewhat restrained visual stimuli that is capable 0f enhancing the viewer’s alertness each step of the picture’s way." (Full article here)
"A final Bachelard quote reminds us of the primacy and experience of the kinds of images Pagk conjures: "The grace of a curve is an invitation to remain. We cannot break away from it without hoping to return. For the beloved curve has nest-like powers; it incites us to possession, it is a curved corner, inhabited geometry." (Full essay here)
Connaissance des Arts, Miguel Abreu, Les harmonies de Paul Pagk (march 2002)
THE HARMONIES OF PAUL PAGK by Miguel Abreu, (Connaissance des Arts, March 2002)
If the vertigo of the blank page remains one of the surest perspectives for apprehending the nature of modern art, it is exactly this profound problem that Paul Pagk addresses from morning till night, when he begins to draw in his New York studio. And he draws a lot and all the time, like a jazzman plays his instrument, makes scales or improvises and varies a theme. For the musician, as for the painter, these efforts are made primarily to breathe, to maintain the rhythm of a relationship to the world over the course of a lifetime.
Far from issues of the image and representation so commonly dominant in today's art, Pagk would rather trust his body, his hand and his heartbeat to organize his work. And it is from this primordial anchorage that the space of his white sheet is articulated, that his body and mind seek and find themselves to finally confront, together, the void that faces them. Curiously perhaps, the graphic outcome of this originary configuration often resembles a kind of architectural sketch. Is there a house here, one might ask, or the contours of a secret room that evaporate in orange and purple dust? Is it a mirage, or is it more a question of indefinite objects floating in space and positioned near a particular mass of color? In any case, the visual elegance of this work is reminiscent of the disposition of an artist like Paul Klee, for Pagk does not lack a sense of humor either. Like Klee, Pagk remains sufficiently enthralled by the forms he creates to render them seemingly fragile and instill in them an uncertain, if not childish dimension. And it is most naturally that the scribbles of this 39-year-old artist assert themselves in a drawing that generally stems from an assured mastery of line, color and sensation. By contrast to his painting, in which a deeper divide takes place between a precise linear shape and an almost always monochrome background, Pagk's pencil and pastel drawings express accelerations and labor to produce complex harmonies between disparate pictorial elements.
Upon learning that during his early youth, Pagk practiced classical ballet seriously, it is even more tempting to allow an analogy of dance to prevail in the mind. Yes of course, the forces fueling this art come from music, architecture, and bodily movement, but what must be emphasized is that from these energies arises a genuine production of space, a dynamic space at human scale, made of imbalances, vibrations and constant experimentation, as well as respect for a certain and necessary distance between things. Far away is the impression of an art submissive to its alleged concept and beaming affected intelligence; but far away also is the advent of the world as abjection and obscenity, as a closed circuit of ‘image-communication-commodity’, as the critic Youssef Ishaghpour would say, so dear to advertisers creators of 'concepts', precisely, and that is a good thing.
Artforum, Donald Kuspit, Paul Pagk at Thread Waxing Space (1993)
Paul Pagk at Thread Waxing Space by Kuspit, Donald | Artforum International, Summer 1993
Paul Pagk's abstract paintings show that the renewal of painting depends upon the renewal of what is fundamental to it: primitive sensory experience articulated through texture and elementary structure. The former is innate to surface, the latter marks it as the universal ground of presentation. Painting can never die as long as what psychoanalyst Thomas Ogden calls "the autistic-contiguous mode" of experience, through which the subject first integrates sensory input, remains basic to all experience. At its best painting evokes "the rhythm of sensation" that forms the fundament of our self. The ground of experience is "sensory contiguity"--connections between "sensory surfaces 'touching' one another." Those who are sick and tired of painting are sick and tired of what is most fundamental in their sensory experience…
The Villager, Stephanie Buhmann: Piet Mondrian's grave discovered by painter Paul Pagk and sculptor Leonardo Drew (2009)
Blackbook Video (2014)