White Nights | Max Lee

EXHIBITION | 7th - 10th May 2015

Gallery opening times:
Friday 8th – Sunday 10th May 11am – 3pm

Preview: Thursday May 7th 6pm – 8pm

Max Lee presents a new body of work that explores a specific moment in the history of The Peoples Temple movement, which was formed in Indiana 1955 by leader Jim Jones. Initially set up as a New Religious Community, the group embraced a belief system that combined several religious and social ideas, including Christian Social Gospel, racial integration, socialism and communism. Due to several pressures within the US, the group relocated to Guyana in South America and set up The Peoples Temple Agricultural Project or informally, Jonestown. On the 18th November 1978 the settlement became the site of a mass suicide by cyanide poisoning, claiming the lives of 918 people. Until the events of September 11, 2001, Jonestown was the greatest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster.

The small scale of the work produced for this exhibition references both the Polaroid subject matter that the paintings utilise as a ‘jumping off point’ as well as the importance of the viewer to experience the work on an intimate and forensic level.

The paintings are a visual contradiction both revealing and un-revealing, exposing the seen and un-seen whilst suggesting a space within another space. Although some may be perceived as abstract they remain firmly rooted in their photographic source and invoke spatial and figural illusions. At the centre of the work are questions exploring how to represent the un-representable and challenging the failure of painting to adequately communicate an appalling atrocity.

Max Lee was born in Ascot in 1993. He is currently completing his final year of BA Fine art at Newcastle University, and lives and works between Newcastle upon Tyne and London.