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Since Marcel Duchamp’s seminal 1917 work Fountain, making a simple statement about one’s aesthetic preferences has become problematic. High and low cultures continue to cross-contaminate in contemporary art.
My black velvet paintings occupy this contaminated world. Drawing on the traditions of romanticism and pop art, death and persecution are returned to the arena of spectacle. Images of heroic martyrdom presented in this most kitsch form of painting acknowledge the historic role of Western art to tell such stories, whilst disputing the possibility of a meaningful relationship with the art of the past in the era of late capitalism. Notions of death permeate the work – the literal end of a human life, the metaphorical deaths of painting and indeed of art itself. The means by which faiths of various kinds function in the face of these deaths is the focus of this series.
- Leslie Rice