Here for U
In support of the young artists and creatives that will be critically affected by this crisis, at Unit London we have launched our #HereforU initiative: using our Instagram platform to promote young artists that are recommended by U, our audience. If you would like to propose any artists, please visit our Instagram page and send us a DM with the username of the artist you would like us to support. We will be posting a new artist every day. Here’s a closer look at the first three artists we have chosen: Qi Lei, Marc Dennis and Adam Lupton.
Qi Lei’s work concerns the tension between man and naturel, his large-scale paintings often feature solitary figures, wading through the undergrowth of tropical rivers and forests. The scenes are verdant: trees and foliage are rendered with dynamic vertical lines that convey a sense of motion from both the forest’s canopy stretching towards the heavens and its roots burrowing into the earth – resulting in a contemplation of the universe as a holistic entity, while simultaneously questioning the role of the human within such a system.
Lei’s painting often depicts labouring people in these fecund settings, through his obscure painterly language – which flirts with abstraction without fully yielding to it – he imbues these everyday rural scenes with a surreal quality. He visualises his notions of existence with people drifting along amidst the rush of reality, alluding to his own internal anxieties as well as the broader concerns of modernity and mechanisation.
Land of Seclusion, 2018, Oil on canvas, 200 x 150 cm, (Image Courtesy Tang Contemporary Art)
Harvestman, 2018, Oil on canvas, 200 x 150 cm, (Image Courtesy Tang Contemporary Art)
Marc Dennis’ hyper-realistic paintings are celebrations of life and colour, they focus on a kind of hedonistic visual yearning that’s present within us all, these are paintings concerned with an over-indulgence of sensory pleasure that taps into the subversive potential of beauty and sexuality. Dennis’ artistic fingerprint is indebted to various movements throughout the western art historical canon: the dramatic light of the High-Renaissance forms a basis from which pop-art-esque modern iconography and contemporary American paraphernalia are layered.
Dennis’ work responds to the contemporary zeitgeist, spanning a range of subjects that regularly inhabit our screens. His photo-realist works subtly expose and emphasise the images that are so mimetic of our culture, drawing attention to where they have stemmed from.
Soak In Your Scent, 2018, Oil on linen, 135 x 102 cm, (Image Courtesy of Cris Worley Fine Arts)
Pa-Twaing!, 2017, Oil on linen, 188 x 152 cm, (Image Courtesy of Cris Worley Fine Arts)
Adam Lupton’s work is concerned with the contemporary human condition: he mines his own personal experience for totemic thoughts and behaviours that resonate almost ubiquitously amongst a wider audience. Fittingly, his work often involves a considered exploration of anxiety and isolation.
He regularly gives his figures antithetical functions, capturing a state of mental flux and polarisation – a state that so often occurs in the same breath – all in one image. In this quest to avoid prescriptive visual outcomes, Lupton’ imbues his figures with a kind of kinetic energy: limbs flail and intertwine in illusory convolutions as the image refuses to take a concrete form.
Psycho Analysis Composition V, Oil on canvas, 92 x 92 cm, (Image Courtesy of Modus Gallery)
The Only Way Out Is In, 2014, Oil on canvas, 122 x 152 cm (Image Courtesy of Execute Magazine)