Paul Winstanley was born in 1954 in Manchester. He trained at the Slade School of Fine Art 1976-78, and then at Cardiff College of Art. From 1991-1992 he was the Churchill College Cambridge / Kettles Yard Artist in Residence. He currently lives and works in London.
Winstanley is a painter who uses the ostensibly traditional genres of Landscape / Interior / Still Life / Figure / to create works of conceptual rigour that present the relationship of the viewer to the painting as central to the content of the work. At once methodical and melancholic his painterly depictions of landscapes, walkways, veiled windows, TV Lounges, art school studios and individuals distracted in contemplation are rendered in an exacting and subtle palette. Training initially as an abstract and minimalist painter Winstanley reversed the usual trend of early 20th century artists by moving back towards a new, more self aware representational work. His paintings however do retain much of the aesthetic qualities of the earlier abstraction in their pictorial organisation and minimalist feel. His paintings draw as much from historical northern European artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, Vermeer and Vilhelm Hammershoi as contemporary, more conceptual practitioners such as Richard Hamilton. The images Winstanley creates contain a sense of imposed order as well as an atmosphere of abandonment or expectation and of time inexorably passing.
He has had numerous solo exhibitions in London, Paris, Munich, Hamburg, New York, Los Angeles and Dublin, including Annexe, in 1997-98, which formed part of the Tate Gallery's Art Now series. In 2008, there was a major retrospective of his work, Paul Winstanley, Survey, 1989-2007 at Artspace in Aukland, New Zealand. His work is represented in several public and private collections, including those of Tate, the British Council, the European Parliament, the New York City Public Library and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.