The Hypnosis of Error

Lee Maelzer

Private view: Thursday 17 November, 6.30 – 8.30pm

Exhibition continues: 18 November – 23 December 2011

'Lee Maelzer: Similar to, but not quite, how it was', an essay by Rebecca Geldard (PDF)

Film screening event: Thursday 15 December, 7pm

Lee Maelzer, Garden.


Lee Maelzer makes paintings about the human need to record events and places and the visual languages and signifiers that connect the evidence. For her first solo exhibition at Poppy Sebire, Maelzer will show new works that further develop her fascination for the mediated image; whether that held in the mind, the camera, or the physical archive.

The London-based artist is known for her odd, beautiful and technically adept means of describing facets of the everyday in paint. And, while Maelzer remains interested in the wider influence of history, pop culture and technology on the collective memory, this body of work brings one back down to the prosaic/profound experience of flipping through a pile of photographs.

Photography has become an increasingly important part of Maelzer's working process. Similarly to Peter Doig or Wilhelm Sasnal, she is not interested in rendering the real exactly, rather, alerting one to the ways in which life and its props are constructed, catalogued and remembered. Where once several images might have been seamlessly interposed to create a figuratively loyal but ultimately altered sense of the everyday, the recent works tend to remain faithful to a single, often chemically burnt, but always collectively resonant image.

Familiar things – trees, urban clutter and pedestrian interiors – can still appear in Maelzer's latest works as if cast in a cinematic David Lynchian, or sublime post-impressionist light, yet other image anomalies have begun to appear that can't be readily explained or sourced. This might be as a result of the partially melted image reference point or a pervasive sense of the picture plane coming undone – of releasing data back to time – that Maelzer manages to achieve with paint.

Vast vistas of rubble and rope or inner city dilapidation, for example, appear positively unstable as structures of both the real world and the mind's eye. The dense physicality and proposed normalcy of each scene relates to what Maelzer describes as “the weight of images”: a sense of labouring through an indiscriminate and overstocked image-based cultural landscape and the ever-increasing production of generic imagery associated with human rituals and ceremonies. Maelzer creates value out of lost or forgotten details in ways that exquisitely describe the pain of acknowledging sand sifting through the hourglass.


Lee Maelzer was born in London, raised in Vancouver and now lives and works in London. Solo exhibitions have included The Magnificient Basement, London (2010); Carter Presents, London (2009, 2006); Museum 52, London (2007) and The Arts Gallery, London (2005). Selected group exhibitions include The Paper Show, APT Draschan, Vienna (2009); Inimitable, Lucy Mackintosh, Lausanne (2008); An Archaeology, Zabludowicz Collection, 176 Project Space, London (2007); Royal Academy Summer Show, London (2006) and ARTfutures, Bloomberg Space, London (2005). Maelzer has work in several major private collections including The Frank Cohen Collection, Manchester; The Zabludowicz Collection, London; University of the Arts Collection, London and the David Roberts Collection, London. Maelzer holds an MA from the Royal College of Art and a BA from Central St Martins and was awarded the Abbey Fellowship at the British School of Rome in 2004.



Lee Maelzer, The Hypnosis of Error