Self-taught artist Michael Rees has lived and worked in Cornwall for the past thirty years. His atmospheric and psychologically provocative images of nameless figures in nondescript landscapes are brooding and bleak, yet at the same time suggestive of a darkly subversive wit.
Created using a gritty mix of oil paint and substances such as wax and clay grog, these richly textured bas-relief works on wood, card and board have much in common with the primitive and natraditions of Art Brut. In their simplicity of form and the childlike nature of their compositions, the power in these paintings - which the artist tellingly describes as 'headscapes' - lies in their raw expression of both image and emotion.
Accompanying these works are a collection of Rees's assemblages. Constructed from detritus such as rusty nails, feathers, newspaper cuttings and bits of plastic, these wax figures and creatures in boxes are reminiscent of the rituals of Voodoo and reflect the anti-rationalism of Surrealism and Dada.
Influenced by the work of artists as diverse as Paul Klee, Mark Rothko, Francis Bacon and Matisse and of writers such as Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney and Sylvia Plath, Rees's works are complex, stark and extraordinarily affecting.