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On November 15th 2023, James McQueen's latest solo show, If You Ever Leave Me I'm Coming with You, opened to the public, displaying a new body of works using Penguin Books covers as a starting point for bold and satirical paintings.
The exhibition title takes its name from one of McQueen’s most personal quotes, which represents, in the artist’s words: ‘A love one can have which is so powerful it drives that enslaving desire to possess and protect another person. That daunting ‘first love’ experience - like you’ll die without them. It taps into our inability to accept failure or rejection but equally the desire to want something so intensely we can’t let it go.’
The illustrated exhibition book features over 80 McQueen’s artworks, with lots of additional detail photography and an introductory essay as an overview of the artist. Most of pieces featured in this one-of-a-kind book are new works created for the If You Ever Leave Me I'm Coming with You exhibition and have never been seen before, now available in the over 300 pages book. As well as McQueen’s standard canvas paintings, it also features his brand-new installation sets and works on paper.
James McQueen’s complex application of paint elevates his art beyond the mere imitation of a nostalgic object towards an art that is rich and expressive, exploring themes of Pop art and abstraction. Working under a pseudonym, he introduces an autobiographical dimension to the work with his trademark monkey, using this mischievous character as a kind of personal insignia.
The titles and sentiments are evocative, playful and sometimes cynical, depicted through a process of layering the canvas with thickly applied expressive brush strokes, characteristic of Abstract Expressionism. The anonymous artist also incorporates drip painting into a number of his canvases.
McQueen has produced the most experimental and varied painting of his entire oeuvre, having assimilated drop painting, re-imagined spots and begun experimenting with the diamond dust technique. Hugely popular with collectors, the artist continues to break new ground through complex and contemporary artworks, making his pieces powerful statements in any setting.
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