Lee Madgwick, back to Italy for his second solo show at the White Noise Gallery, is a perfect example of a landscape painter form the twenty-first century. His works are a contemporary celebration of the “Capricci” from the renaissance: portraits of impossible places composed by several constructions taken form different environments, modified in the scale and perspective in order to create ideal views.
In the work of Lee Madgwick the juxtaposition of urban environments with pristine nature generates images that are both surreal and surrealistic; fictional celebrations of a post-technologic archaeology. While paintings from the Gran Tour époque where full of ancient elements, evoking the splendour of Italian cities, Madgwick’s landscapes are populated by working-class architecture, views from anonymous suburbs with no clear geographic reference.
The buildings, swallowed by the vegetation, are the only traces of the human presence, left on the ground as ephemeral marks that will outlive their own creators. The urban elements that Madgwick uses in his compositions look like secular tree-trunks or landslide rocks from a now irrelevant past, totally belonging to the surrounding nature. In these landscapes, nature is the romantic audience of a life cycle in which the human being builds, leaves and finally disappears.
The artist approaches the banality of our times through the watchful eyes of a scholar, building dystopian images recalling movies like Cuarón’s “Children of men” or Hillcoat’s “The Road”. Is the skill, cinematographic, of creating fake images that are more real than reality that gives to Madgwick’s artworks a magnetic power capable of interacting on a primordial and oneiric level with the viewer. Pannini and Piranesi were creating their compositions and landscapes in order describe the experience itself of the Gran Tour; Lee Madgwick transposes over the canvases the feelings of the boring, flat and stereotyped life of this post-humanist century.
The aesthetic refinement of Lee Madgwick’s paintings is typical of Baroque landscapes and is functional in creating an immediate contrast with the anonymized urban environments depicted. Nonetheless technique is crucial to underline the different meaning that “process” and “time” gained in the digital century. The idea of a slowed-down flow, almost focusing on the single instant, looks totally anachronistic in time of furious run, in which the future is already past and a working-class block becomes urban archaeology in less than a generation.