Lee Sellers’ playful paintings illustrate moments in time between people in different scenarios. He often depicts groups of people, each going about their own business, which upon closer inspection show various narratives all playing out at once.
He sets scenes in a variety of settings; sometimes known locations such as London’s Piccadilly Circus, or it may be a coastal town constructed from his imagination, with boats arriving back to a busy harbour. Sellers then adds in the characters that bring the painting to life. These are sometimes purely fictious scenarios, but others are real situations he has been in. Maybe it is Sellers’ experience of working in TV as an actor himself that leads him to construct these scenes as a director would organise his cast, giving each tiny painted figure a role.
In this exhibition, Lee has two major works which are set underwater. Scuba divers explore an underwater world of shipwrecks, rocks and deep sea plant-life, amongst an array of different sea creatures, including fish, sharks, jellyfish and even mermaids. Up above, a small island protrudes from the water, allowing a volleyball game to take place on its beach, whilst boats pass by either side. It’s the more hidden figures that are such a joy to discover, (such as a small scuba diving dog) and these works allow something new to be found upon each viewing.
Sellers plays with the idea of the canvas as an object not just for these figures to be painted on to, but for them to interact with. Sometimes they are even armed with a paintbrush and can be seen painting a part of the scene themselves.
Lee Sellers lives and works in London, and has shown with Curwen Gallery since 2010. This is his second solo show at Curwen.