Anyone insanely obsessed with finely detailed drawings and etchings should look no further!
When studying Chris Agnew’s work, you can’t help but be in awe of the monumental and painstakingly detailed worlds he presents, but there’s always more than meets the eye.
A British artist, he completed his BA in Contemporary Art Practice from The University of Leeds in 2008, followed by a Masters in Fine Art at the Wimbledon College of Art in 2010. Agnew is an artist who likes to experiment with the expansible meanings of images; taking an image and playing with ‘the truth’ as we see it. In this sense, his works deals with perceptions of belief systems, and does so in a playful and archaic way.
Agnew’s work deals with the construction and deconstruction of belief systems, be they political, religious, social or cultural. He is interested by the malleable nature of what we hold as ‘truth’, and how the presentation of information informs our subsequent understanding of events.
Agnew was interviewed recently by Art Unpacked, and goes into more detail on how he develops his imagery:
What ideas you have in mind when developing your imagery? Is there a ‘story’ to each picture and where the titles come from?
I think that I have the severe symptoms of someone that’s grown up in the age of information; I find it hard to accept only one point of view, or regard some material (a book, film, or piece of music) without reading around the subject. My approach consists of looking for that needle in the haystack that grabs my attention, the catalyst of an event, or some contradiction or irony in the life of the protagonist. Sometimes it’s not necessarily a story, but the obsession involved in order to find the truth. At the minute I’m really interested in the vernacular of conspiracy theorists, and how factual elements are arranged in such a way to arrive at the conclusion they want, much in the same way that the official records do. The titles of the works are generally quotes that I’ve twisted, or some play on words.
Like all Surrealist art, you need an open mind, as the works can often be perplexing. But in Agnew’s work there are elements of truth and historical references, fused with the fantastical, ‘The State of Affairs’ series (above) being a prime example of the M.C.Esher-esque quality he has. Granted, with Escher works you don’t know what’s up or down, but Agnew’s drawings are always rooted, and like Religious monuments, they have foundation.
He has cited Adam Dant and Paul Noble as his contemporary influences, and if you have seen these artists’ works you’d understand why. Both celebrate the historicity of drawing and are masters at their craft, as Agnew is soon becoming.
To see more of his fantastical worlds then travel to his site
Quote taken from the artist’s representative gallery
All images are copyright of Chris Agnew