Art Life , Exhibitions Aug 24, 2015 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

Arguably it was Pablo Picasso who first idealised discarded objects by incorporating things like newsprint, broken furniture and glass in his early collages. Like his later Bull’s Head – made from a discarded bicycle seat and handlebars – the development of the junk art movement has generally been associated with assemblages and sculpture. For the twelve paintings in Laminate, James Lieutenant exploits the idea of the throwaway with a materially different approach.


Small pieces of plastic detritus, broken glass and the old rubber sole from a shoe are among Lieutenant’s banal subjects. While it’s not uncommon for found objects to be recycled for art, any environmental comment in his work is at least partially incidental. Placing little importance on the purity of the object and close attention to the surface and texture of each thing, traces of dirt and weather damage are left undisturbed. Lieutenant’s main focus is on “how the surface of paint and surface of the subject relate to each other” so each thing is scanned, photoshopped and subsequently screen-printed in layers. As details of the original object are enlarged, removed or bleached away by the process, so the image becomes increasingly disorienting. The addition of colour causes extra confusion, as a range of greys mingle with high key pop hues to distort and act as decoys. Adopting a kind of surreal quality, Lieutenant’s bits of junk and unwanted rubbish discard their past lives and emerge as a series of beguiling images.

Until August 30
Wellington Street Projects, Chippendale
Pic: James Lieutenant,Found Rubber Laminated in Plastic with Printed Pattern 2015, 80 x 80 cm, acrylic on Canvas. Courtesy the artist.

Sharne Wolff

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