Bex Massey’s work examines the role of painting and the language of display in the face of popular culture. Through the amalgamation of sculptural form and simulacra she investigates notions of worth: In terms of allegory; the throw away nature of British popular culture and the undercurrent of anxiety drifting just below the surface of daily life. Motifs commonly found within her work to express this consumer gluttony are extracted from the 80s/90s overlap of her childhood. Massey returns to the palette of her adolescence as it remains a slower era-pre computer, internet and cloud. She appropriates & refashions this paraphernalia in an ‘awkward couple’ of garish nostalgia and traditional making techniques. The nature of painting further epitomises this construct of time and its suggested worth-in the replication of the fleeting image lest the click of a flash, mouse or ctrl alt delete.
Massey borrows lengthy processes from the old Masters to replicate quick links from Adobe Suite in a bid to push away from the ever-expanding field of the digital. This competition between man and machine came to a head in her solo shows Àhhá, 2017 and ÀhháÀhhá, 2018 where she attempted to emulate how a painting might ‘physically’ feel in lieu of VR technology. She is now extrapolating the principals of the expanded frame in 2D. She utilises this collaging process and humour to discuss the farcical disparity between the genders. Recent shows tackling this theme have focused on burying women who have changed the course of history in tropes which have condemned them to the notional role of ‘the second sex’ (Original Gyal Dem, 2019, GALLERY46); the cross overs between feminism and the British Class System (Dem Birds, 2019-20, Harlesden High street) and how the Prometheus myth has shaped society in her current solo show (We didn’t start the fire, 2020, VOLT).