Paul Kenny Research

Born (1951)


  Sir Paul Kenny is an abstract artist, born in Salford, Manchester. He is most famous for his ‘Sea Works’ photographs, created in Northumberland where he now lives. He creates arrangements in his studio of materials that he finds in landscape by the sea. He finds materials such as shells, stones, pebbles and driftwood. He has also collected sea water and let it dry and crystallise, developing this technique for several years. He repeatedly dripped the water onto a negative on a glass plate then creates the beautiful effects in the darkroom or scans the objects onto the computer by using a scanner.

I believe Kenny’s works are other worldly and spell binding due to the ethereal form that the salt crystals create. This way of working required imagination and bravery to be different, I find this an inspirational technique. I find his work to be intensely absorbing as he has managed to make something so simple look so extraordinary and distinctive. They appear like scientific experiments as though they have been composed within a laboratory.

He studied as a fine art’s student at Newcastle Polytechnic in 1972, discovering and falling in love with the Northumberland coast line which is were he carries out most of his works. Married to Margaret Kenny who is a textiles artist that teaches throughout Northumberland.

Inspired by his experience of being snowed in one year, he created a project called ‘Northumbrian Flora’ after being inspired by finding a veiny leaf as the snow started to melt. This was his most colourful works to date. He goes out two or three times a week visiting Holy Head and Brewick. Creating sketches and drawings, collecting his materials and he is currently collecting fossils so this could be a later theme in his work.

Key Achievements:

  • Sea Works on show in South Shields
  • Works in the Scottish Nation Gallery
  • Works in National Photography Collection
  • Works in offices of Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank’s
  • Solo show in London


PAUL KENNY (2015) Photographic works. [on-line Accessed: 08/01/16]

HSE (2015) Profile of Sir Paul Kenny. [Accessed: 08/01/16]

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