Bex Massey’s work examines the role of painting and the language of display in the face of popular culture. She amalgamates simulacra and allegory to investigate notions of ‘worth’ via motifs extracted from her childhood. She refashions 90s/00s jpegs in an ‘awkward couple’ of garish nostalgia and traditional making techniques. Canvas therefore straddle the hyper real and erroneous as she imagines pixels into existence from low res files. Massey returns to the palette of her adolescence as it remains a slower era-pre mainstream internet. Her use of ‘naff’ portraiture and ‘Fan Art’ seeks to condemn the fleeting and facile reality of sharing platforms. The nature of painting further epitomising this construct of time and its suggested ‘worth’- in the replication of the transitory image lest the click of a flash, mouse or ctrl alt delete. In 2022 Massey examined the edifice of networking applications further in coding her own Instagram filter to enable viewers to interact with her work via cyber space. This ‘invert’ AR scrutinized the titles historical derivation as psychological classification for ‘homosexual’. The filter she created allows users to convert the blue veneers in her work into more naturalistic forms, extend the pictorial space further than the canvas parameters and lean into feelings of ‘otherness’ when camera is directed on oneself.
Massey borrows lengthy processes from the old Masters to replicate quick links from Adobe Suite in a bid to push away from the ever-expanding field of the digital. She renders stock imagery to trompe l’oeil verisimilitude before obscuring and in some cases obliterating with additional screen grabs. Each coat of British nostalgia risks the ruination of the last which to a degree mirrors the zeitgeist of post Brexit ‘Great’ Britain and her unease in this milieu. Her layering process combines collage, optical illusion, and humour to discuss the farcical disparity between the genders. Recently these intersectional feminist issues have focussed on ‘Section 28’ and its impact on a generation of Queer kids. In trying to understand her origin story she spent two years exploring Queer history and theory – the research that she compiled was exhibited in her largest and first autobiographical series to date ‘The truth is out there’ (solo) 2022, Roman Road. There are many spaces in which the LGBTQIA+ community do not see versions of themselves: It is therefore important to Bex that these narratives are immortalised in paint as historically this Medium has also excluded examples of herself and her community. Presently, studio work is starting to challenge what being a ‘lesbian’ means in the modern day and if trying to reclaim a term that is shouted as abuse; manipulated by the male gaze; monetarised by the Porn industry and debased by TERF’s is worth reclaiming at all?