The multi-dimensional work of Irish-born artist Alan Magee raises questions concerning the nature of signs, and reality through a complex mise en abime, which obscures the ideas of nature and definition. His work interrogates the distinction between reality and its representation, while his process explores the possibility of finding a place in the world through the action of transformation.
Magee’s perfect reproduction of wooden household objects are so cautiously covered in graphite that they appear to be made of lead. The seemingly ordinary objects blur the distinction between nature and artifice, and question the undetermined identity of what is being seen. It is so cleverly done that the replicas, which portray the underlying reality of what lies beneath threaten to replace it.
It is as though Magee’s work represents a kind of existentialism of labour, as he attempts to find a place in the world through his working process; it represents those of a working environment that would aim to create functional objects. However, through his process, Magee purposefully transforms their use from common artifacts into works of art. As they are changed, the artworks end up in a state of ‘not quite right, yet not quite wrong’.
Photography by Rachel Hardwick