Paul Huxley was born in London in 1938. He studied at Harrow School of Art from 1951 until 1956 when, at the age of seventeen, he was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools where he graduated in 1960.
His first solo exhibition was at the Rowan Gallery, London in 1963. In 1964 he was selected by Bryan Robertson for ‘The New Generation’ at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, the exhibition which first introduced emerging artists of the sixties to a wider public. Works in this show from Huxley’s ‘fluid series’ of paintings became highly influential within the genre of new abstract painting at the time and won him first prize in the Stuyvesant Travel Awards. The award took him to the USA where he met many of the leading American artists of the period such as Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, often visiting their studios and in some cases forming lasting friendships.
In 1965 he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship that funded a two year residency in New York culminating in his first solo show there. During this time he made the initial studies for his ‘key series’, works in which he deconstructed the traditional monocentric format of abstract painting. These were seminal to the development of the divided canvases that have characterised his work ever since.
In 1977 the Linbury Trust awarded him a sabbatical year away from part time teaching. An intensive period of work resulted in the grey ‘studio series’ which were the first paintings in which Huxley applied a new analysis of cubist and surrealist sources; possibly the first instance in abstract painting where conscious historical references were made to its modernist origins.
The ‘studio series’ reintroduced the theme of the standing form that had previously been a feature in works of the late sixties and now was continued in subsequent paintings, for instance in the Modus Operandi series of the late 1980s and the Anima Animus series of the 1990s, where Huxley presented the concept of interactions between differing hypothetical renderings of image, flat colour field, line, chiaroscuro and collage.
Over the last four decades Huxley's work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions both in Britain and internationally. Recent projects have included large-scale wall drawings in Chichester and London, an ongoing series of paintings on a Chinese theme and, most recently, a series of sculptural maquettes towards a larger project.
Huxley has also taught in art schools throughout his career and has contributed to policy in the academic and curatorial fields. He was a member of the advisory panels for the Arts Council of Great Britain and the Serpentine Gallery, a Trustee of the Tate Gallery, acting for a period as chairman of its Exhibitions Committee, and chairman of the Art & Design Research Exercise for the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
In 1987 he was editor of ‘Exhibition Road - Painters from the Royal College of Art’, a book to coincide with the exhibition of the same title which he co-curated with Susie Allen. For their joint work on this show the National Art Collections Fund (now The Art Fund) gave them an award for Outstanding Service to the Arts. He has been a member of the Royal Academy of Arts since 1987 and their Treasurer since 2000 acting for a period as President.
He was Professor of Painting at the Royal College of Art from 1986 until 1998 after which he was elected Honorary Fellow and Professor Emeritus. Many of his students from these years such as Dinos Chapman, Nigel Cook, Dexter Dalwood, Andrew Grassie, Tracey Emin, Chantal Joffe and Chris Ofili are now established artists contributing to the new British art which has been so widely acclaimed.
Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York.
2012 St Regis Hotel, Singapore.