Olly Beck's paintings explore the colliding of the old and the new to create strange hybrids that attempt to hover in something futuristic while simultaneously offering a kind of magic realism. At the heart of this is his fascination with how mirages operate both physically and metaphorically.

For him painting is an exercise in the mechanics and archeology of seduction, of which mirages are an exemplary example: the play of desire and repulsion brought on by an apparition shimmering on the horizon. 

Beck uses recurring motifs, for example ‘armour', ‘weaponry', ‘skulls', chosen deliberately for their negative and powerful connotations. The ‘magic' is then employed through the treatment of these motifs with lush swathes of peculiarly coloured paint (polished with wax), as well as the use of different levels of surface (things cut under, texture leaking on top, lines and ciphers of flight/stratification).

In this way the motifs become mutated and ambiguous in terms of what they normally signify. Seductive by their own disfiguring and dissemblance, Beck's intention is that they echo in someway contemporary life's implosion of meaning from a theatrical and semiological perspective.

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2009 Sartorial Contemporary Art