Ruby Leeinstagramemailwebsite

Stop fucking about. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop doing nothing when you should be doing something. Get busy living or get busy dying. Hey little rich girl, you’ve done too much - much too young (1). You’re married with a kid when you should be having fun with me! (2) Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

My entire artistic practice is concerned with the image. After the camera, you can’t be a painter with only paint. To ignore the digital image, the ‘poor image’, the ‘Wretched of the Screen’, would be a big mistake. There are also jokes. I am a serious painter but will always play with what a painting really is. A painting with a photograph of an older painting glued onto another painting. A high resolution image exported, converted, zoomed in, printed, glued, and presented. ‘The poor image is a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution.’ I also introduce no hierarchy in my works. The poorest image might be a freeze-framed pixelated print out of a Tik Tok video - the richest, a 300 year old oil painting. I will hang both here. A cheap and indulgent piece of popular culture, greasy and glutinous steak and eggs, glamorous child pageant queens alongside a forgotten photograph of an unknown young wartime nurse, a nun, a saint. All humility and humbleness. I will hang both here. To me they are the same.

Sometimes you’ve got to trick an eye to go where you want it to. I use linear brutalist architecture in my paintings both from a love for them passed down from my architect father, an enjoyment in the way shadow and light behave on flat planes and right angles, and because of the authority they demand. I’m also interested in gender and the visual stereotypes we assign them, misguided or not. The costumes we put on. The buildings somehow represent the masculine to me, the landscapes demand a wide perspective and therefore dignified respect. I want to show you that the vapid, hyper-feminine, badly-behaved women I collect deserve the same respect. Visually I can trick you (sir) into taking me seriously, but suddenly - what’s that? in the bottom right corner… she’s got her tits out!

‘The poor image is no longer about the real thing—the originary original. Instead, it is about its own real conditions of existence: about swarm circulation, digital dispersion, fractured and flexible temporalities. It is about defiance and appropriation just as it is about conformism and exploitation.
In short: it is about reality.’ - Steyerl, Hito. In Defence of the Poor Image. 2009. e-flux. (3)

1.The Specials. Hey Little Rich Girl. 2 Tone Records, Oct. 1980

2.The Specials. Too Much Too Young. 2 Tone Records, Jan. 1980

3.Steyerl, Hito. In Defence of the Poor Image. 2009. e-flux.