Paul Aho is an abstract painter born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1954; he earned his BFA from Florida State in 1977, and received an MFA in painting from the University of South Florida in 1979. He lives in Florida.
Complementing his work as an artist is his work as an arts educator: he was the Dean of the Armory Art Center School of Art in West Palm Beach; on the faculty of the Palm Beach Community College; and was the Director of the Palm Beach Cultural Council’s Art in Public Places program. He is the current Program Director for the Palm Beach Photographic Centre in Delray Beach, Florida.
Aho’s paintings are made using a combination of stencils to create his imagery, brushes and squeegees to pull and push the paint around the surface of the wood. The finish on his pieces varies, but always presents a very smooth and “perfect” flat surface, occasionally suggesting either having been buffed or sanded down through the layers of acrylic and oil paint. Subtle translucent layers over the surface merge with more opaque forms to create a sense of depth.
Aho’s lush geometric abstractions are composed from layers of paint that produce their effects through contrasts of hue and differences in texture. His paintings combine the simplified shapes and repeating forms familiar from historical geometric abstraction with a contemporary handling of paint most associated with the abstractions made with a squeegee by German artist Gerhard Richter. The result of this combination is paintings which are distinctly of the present: the pulled and washed areas in these paintings act as interruptions—glitches—whose most immediate associations are with the types of errors visible in reproductions, suggesting these images have a specifically historical dimension. They have the aura of art made in another time that has survived into the present through imperfect copies and error-laden prints.