How many exhibition works:
- 10 - 19
This July, Unit London presents the first solo show by London-based contemporary artist Rex Southwick. Querencia will bring together a new collection of Southwick's highly saturated paintings that present lavish domestic spaces in relation to notions of ownership and aspiration.
Confronting the seemingly endless stream of idealised domestic environments found on digital platforms, Southwick disrupts dream-like settings by incorporating domestic workers and labourers that reveal a hidden truth behind notions of luxury and possession. In Coping and Tiles the identities of the workers are deliberately obscured to invoke a sense that they do not belong, despite their role as the creators and custodians of these spaces.
Southwick’s works manifest the sinister undercurrents in our desire for safety, luxury and the domestic dream. The title of the exhibition, Querencia, refers to Ernest Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon that describes a bull staking out his querencia – or ‘preferred locality’ – before a fight, in order to feel strong and safe.
Working from images sourced directly from Balearic and American building contractors, property developers and realtors, Southwick gains access to a rarely documented phase in a property’s life and the role of those who create them. As seen in Chlorine and the largest painting in the series, pH 7.9, Southwick uses swimming pools as a central motif that can be read as representing a liminal space between several realities.
Drawing on the historical use of these settings within Modern and Contemporary art, Southwick’s paintings are a captivating yet chilling synthesis of form and concept, delivered with a confidence of technique. The artist merges architectural precision with vibrant, expressive colour, investigating the inherent qualities of paint against that of the pixel, deconstructing the digital sphere through contemporary motifs of desire.
Rex Southwick attended the Glasgow School of Art, and graduated with First-Class Honors from Leeds Arts University in Fine Art in 2018 before receiving the AON Community Art Award earlier this year as an alumnus. Living and working in North London, Southwick is known for his striking use of colour and tone. Playing with the idea of idealised domestic environments at an incomplete stage, he works from images sourced from building contractors and construction site visits. The inclusion of labourers in his work toys with our perception of luxury domestic space as private.
Southwick’s work is included in a number of recognised private collections, notably The Franks-Suss Collection, and was exhibited at London Fashion Week earlier this year. He has collaborated with supergroup The Power Station for their next album cover to be released later in the year.
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