Lee’s drawings and paintings depict scenes of abandonment, seclusion and dereliction. They aren’t frightening, but they do flirt and play with the surreal, something which leaves the viewer with a slight sense of foreboding. Lee draws his inspiration from overlooked areas in both urban and rural settings, travelling around the country as often as he can to find – or rediscover – these forgotten places. ‘There is something about that eerie sense of haunting beauty in derelict and abandoned buildings and landscapes that I find so inviting. I’ve always liked the dark and somewhat mysterious fairy tale and post-apocalyptic-esque landscapes depicted in books and films.’
Having seen his work on gallery walls in Norfolk, Cambridge, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Amsterdam, Milan, Stockholm, Singapore and New York, Lee’s exhibition history is a rich one. He is a member of the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) and his work is admired by Banksy who comments that ‘Lee specialises in juxtaposing abandoned, derelict urban scenes in secluded rural locations. Basically run-down estates in run-down estates. He somehow captures the sense of dark things happening behind closed doors, while presenting a perfectly chirpy looking, colourful landscape.’
Lee has come a long way from his early days as an aspiring graffiti artist – ‘if you consider a rogue toddler scribbling on every wall in your parent’s house a graffiti artist,’ he comments wryly. Today, he has a detailed architectural pen and ink style, one which imbues his work with an air of authority and pulls it towards the hyper-realistic end of the visual arts spectrum. In this way, Lee’s work becomes a mix of the real and the surreal, and it is through this curious and uncomfortable juxtaposition that the sense of foreboding and menace which characterises Lee’s work emerges.
To enter the Derwent Art Prize 2020, please visit www.derwent-artprize.com where you can fill in an online entry form and upload your images. The deadline is 17 February 2020.
Image credit: Lee Madgwick, ‘Shroud’, exhibited as part of the Derwent Art Prize 2018