Design & the arts are tools that have been co-opted heavily by businesses seeking to communicate with the World since they emerged as commercial industries in the early 20th Century. Principles of Modernism quickly evolved into Graphic Design & Corporate Branding. Visual communication was formalised & refined into a sharpened weapon used by governments, businesses & corporations to manipulate the hearts, minds & desires of the general public.
Lee James Owens has worked for years within the creative industry for some of the World’s biggest brands. He has found himself constantly challenged by its practices, his role within it & by also being a target of its rhetoric. He uses his intimate knowledge to critique & question the principles, techniques & representations that have helped shape the world that we live in. He uses fundamental elements of design & references to Modernism through; Colour, Type, Grid, Scale, Hierarchy & Shape to question its origins & methods. Inspired by the work of Richard Prince, Barbra Kruger & the entire The Pictures Generation, imagery is stolen, edited & removed from its original context to have its meaning re-evaluated. He re-focuses the viewer on new ways of seeing once familiar, even mundane imagery from the past by re-contextualizing it to give it new meaning. Through this method, he is able to speak to our past, present & where it may take us.
Printed images & type are simply cropped, combined & composed in new ways to throw their original purpose & message into question. Basic shapes & blocks of flat painted acrylic colour are layered on to add or emphasise ideas & focus the viewer’s attention. The large-scale print / painted works sit alongside sound & moving image to come together to create an immersive environment.