Aileen Paton


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Berber Village I Water colour on Newsprint

Close up Nwesprint

Berber Village II Water colour on Newsprint

Tree of Guernica Acrylic on Newsprint

Redroad Demolition The Guardian

Entropy Newsprint


My work focuses on the twin concepts of palimpsest and erasure, using newspapers and other publications. My technique begins with a process of reduction and redaction, excising most, but not all text and images so that only the basic scaffolding of a newspaper leaves a trace. For some of the pieces I have developed the process further by taking this fragile structure and distorting it, before building up multiple layers and reconfiguring them. Just as the original newspaper or magazine was read, and variously interpreted by its readers, so this transformed ‘text’ is presented to be read and reinterpreted.
‘Collective amnesia’ was originally a term that indicated how quickly we as a nation or group of nations forget our transgressions. In other words, we never learn from history. Also termed ‘social amnesia’, it might be explained by our tendency nowadays to suffer from information overload, or ‘hyperconnectivity’
Erasure is ubiquitous and timeless. Utopia is in perpetual conflict with dystopia. Every civilisation, however enduring it may have been, is ultimately destined to fall and be replaced. In this process, however, not all of what went before is erased. A trace will always remain. Decay can either be accelerated or retarded, but never completely halted. Tiananmen Square, which epitomises the public space, provides a tabula rasa in which historical events are played out. Regardless of what dynasty is in power, what political party is in power, or what cultural system or religion holds sway, the canvas upon which change happens remains constant; without foundations, there can be no superstructure. Although my work encompasses the act of stripping away, excising and eradicating, it has morphed into a process of re-forming existing structures. Out of this metamorphosis has emerged something derivative yet truly original.


I spent my most of my adult life living in Thurso, Caithness, where I taught at the local F.E. college. In 2010 I left to study fine art at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen as a mature student and graduated with a BA (Hons.) painting in 2014. After graduating I moved to Edinburgh where I was invited to show at the RSW’s annual show as an invited student. At their 2015 annual show I was awarded the RSW Watermark award. I have exhibited in a number of group shows and I had my first solo show in Edinburgh in 2016.


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