David Lee

“Art took over my life as a child and I have never looked back.”

Minnie The Minx - red yellow inks and acrylics 25 x 35 cm

"Very eclectic, from realism, bodies, faces, op art and imaginative landscapes. I just love to paint and create, right from infants school when my father, a building engineer taught me all about perspective, I was enthralled by its possibilities."

Square Route, Part Of 15 Pics For Chess Moves, It Moves! - 55 x 45 cm
Windfarm - Black ink and acrylic 40 x 50 cm
Icthys, A Fish - acrylics mix of inks 50 x 40 cm
Touch Down - acrylics and ink 40 x 45 cm

Certain paintings depict, turbulent, almost biblical natural disasters. What is your motivation in producing these images?

Who knows? I am seldom inspired by peaceful bucolic scenes with gentle pastoral shepherds and shepherdesses! Perhaps these images represent a world spiraling out of control in the aftermath of climate change, an asteroid impact, or in the wake of a devastating earthquake- perhaps they represent the extremes of human emotion - especially anger and rage- perhaps they are a late reaction to the overwhelming emotional response I had felt as a boy when reading the Biblical stories of flood and apocalypse, pestilence and plague or when viewing for the first time several great paintings by turner in a book on Weather in Art that I had serendipitously discovered in the local library (mostly consisting of towering, over-toppling storm clouds I remember- illuminated by lightning flashes - and turbulent seascapes with floundering figures in peril clinging to upturned boats-) - as seen especially in the classic, tragic imagery of The Raft of the Medusa by Gericault - (a symbol if ever I saw one of mankind at the mercy of the enraged elements -) - all of which have haunted my imagination ever since…

Would you say that an interest in science and mathematics plays a role in the often patterned, regimented images you produce?

Strangely enough, I was not particularly interested in science and mathematics at school and even got left behind a little through my own inattention in class, and so it was only through discovering MC Escher and others that I eventually realized the power of geometry when applied to art through the imagination.
By just relaxing then and freeing the mind to play around with a few simple basic rules of perspective and vanishing-points, I was eventually able to access a world that was strictly logical and rational in opposition to my usual free-association and playful doodling.
With illusionary three dimensional depths on a two dimensional surface, this super-realistic world of infinite and fascinating perspectives can sometimes also have in certain circumstances the actual physical effect of stimulating the optical-nerve of the viewer causing confusion and indecision in the brain as it attempts endlessly to decide between ambiguous patterns and shapes - thereby creating movement that does not exist in reality; and so a fascinating subject all in all with endless possibilities.

 There appears to be a Surreal element to a lot of your work. What are your primary inspirations?

Some modern digital work and film special-effects and state-of-the-art photography - also from the past Dali, Max Ernst, Miro, etc, the usual suspects, but trying to explain the surrealistic element in art through rational thought-processes and logical explication is an impossible task if only because none of the rules and laws of nature or any adherence to linear time-scale apply.
A lot of my own imagery though I believe materialises on the borderline where playful doodling makes a connection to the unconscious mind - where both stream-of-conscious, meaningless chattering and terrifying nightmares are wrought - where the illogical, nonsensical concoctions of dream, flights of fancy, reverie and whimsy abound - where superstitious alarms and atavistic fears exist side by side with the horrifying shapes of childhood fears and night-terrors that linger malignantly in dark corners - only to suddenly manifest themselves without warning in the guise of terrifying monsters and horrible hobgoblins-

How do you feel about the viewer attaching meaning to your work; is it intended to be open-ended?

Although a title is very important to me in either giving guidance and stimulus to an existing piece of work or in being the catalyst for something new by setting off a chain of thoughts and images the moment I first conceive of it, I also love to leave the ultimate meaning of my pictures open-ended so that the viewer can partake in the experience and bring his or her own imagination to work on the final interpretation.

This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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