‘If I take the Artex paintings as an example, Artex is a material that adorns working class homes in the UK. It is part of the “decoration” of a certain social demographic, at the same time beautiful and gaudy. My Nan has Artex ceilings in her flat so they are lodged in my subconscious. Nowadays people spend more time removing Artex from old homes than they do installing it, it is considered out of date or naff and not represnting a push towards gentrification. The paintings that I make are entering homes, generally expensive ones, somehow completing the circle’ – D. Rees
Swathes of aquamarine blue and deep violet, broken up by flickers of warm red, flares of yellow and soft flurries of white, create a tactile crescendo of colour and texture. In its grand scale, exuberant brushstrokes and rich interplay of hues, Dan Rees’ Artex Painting seems to fall into a trajectory deriving from Abstract Expressionism, superficially resembling a work by Joan Mitchell or Sam Francis. However, through his medium the artist simultaneously plays homage to a less timeless art: that of 1970s home decoration. During that decade, Artex – a plaster-based coating applied in textural swirls and stipples – became a widely popular method of decorating ceilings in the UK. However, as the middle class bought up the homes of the working class, this staple feature was amongst the first to be removed. Appropriating this decorative technique as a fine art aesthetic, Rees reintroduces Artex back into the domestic interiors of his collectors, and elevates humble domesticity to a socially embedded abstraction of profound beauty.