ALICE BLACK is currently presenting Lee Marshall’s UX until March 21, 2019 in London. The exhibition brings together a new body of work in which Marshall investigates the impact and influence of digital media upon painting and his own creative process.
The works included reveal two counterpoints which lie at the heart of London based Marshall’s work –a celebration of the potential of digital media and imaging software to generate new aesthetics, whilst expressing anxiety over what it means to put paint to canvas in a digitally dominant world. He really showcases the anxiety all artists have when they decide to put up their work on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, whether it is showing their art for the first time or trying to gain a following on these platforms. He drew from his own experiences when he struggled to showcase his own art and had to rely on social media growth services similar to nitreo to grow his online presence. It also shows the technological tide of art encompassing not only the digital media platforms but also used for art. The show is centered on Marshall’s conceptual development of the ‘Canvas Interface’. He views this as an analog to technological user experience/UX and its relationship to the painted surface, which in this context takes on the role of the screen.
In these works a collage-like array of fragmented figures, rendered forms and graphic elements are brought together in composed arrangements intended to reflect the ever-increasing encroachment of the virtual upon the real. With an attraction to processes of collage, sampling and remixing, alongside the illusory potential of painting, Marshall is influenced as much by the virtual worlds of computer games as by trompe-l’oeil of 17th Century Dutch painters and early 20th Century artistic movements such as Surrealism or Cubism.
Through the act of painting, Marshall has identified an increasing tendency to think in terms of a software user rather than a traditional painter and to question the extent to which we are becoming programmed to think and behave like machines. His compositions are broken down into layers, with areas ‘filled’ with gradient, pattern or texture effects. The logic of graphic editing software such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Microsoft Paint, with their layers, cut-copy-paste actions and selective masking and editing of imagery is always at the forefront of his mind. Marshall sees his creative process as an attempt to capture the point at which a painting achieves its own “pictorial logic”.
Lee Marshall was born 1986, Cambridge, U.K. Lives and works in London, UK. He holds a BA Hons Fine Art, Norwich School ofArt and Design, Norwich 2005-2008. Marshall was a finalist of the prestigious JohnMoores Painting in 2016. Notable exhibitions include: Art Brussels, Brussels, Belgium, 2019; UX, ALICE BLACK, London, 2019; If the Walls Could Talk, ALICE BLACK, London, 2018; Square Art Projects, Square Art Projects at SWABArt Fair 2017, The Italian Pavilion, Barcelona, 2017; Merge Visible, Contemporary British Painting, St. Marylebone Crypt, London, 2017; The Kennington Residency Presents,The Kennington Residency, London, 2016; Norfolk Contemporary Art Society -60 years On, Norwich Castle Museum and Gallery, Norwich,2016; John Moores Painting Prize2016, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 2016; Mind Out -Manufactured Space and Constructed Transformations, A.P.T. Gallery, London, 2016.
Lee Marshal: ‘UX’ at Alice Black Gallery
Thursday 21 February – Thursday 21 March 2019.
Writing via press release and photographs courtesy of Alice Black Gallery.