London born and based, Lee Maelzer studied at St Martins College of Art & Design and the Royal College of Art. She received the Bryan Robertson Trust Award in 2019, and the Abbey fellowship at the British School at Rome in 2004. Maelzer has participated twice in Bloomberg ARTFutures and her work has also been shortlisted twice for the John Moore’s Painting Prize.
Lee Maelzer's paintings of places and their associated object detritus reveal much about the social and personal significance of the human activities that might be associated with them. In her hands, the loaded 'usedness' of things, the exposing tics and quirks of our physical selves, and the thingly majesty of the natural world become palpable; understood as material facets with the power to both speak about and influence our experience of them. There's a poetic descriptive quality to her framing of situations as she finds them that brings to mind (as with the work of Mason) the use of literary tropes in alerting us to particular ethereal states of play in a wider narrative, and how much of ourselves we project onto the objects and situations we view.
Take the large work here, 'Rusting Room', 2020, in which the delipidatory effects that have altered the surfaces of a domestic space over time become a highly seductive Bombergian-toned skin on the proceedings. The humble radiator is transformed into a compositional facet capable of invoking more pathos than might ever normally be assigned such a commonplace building essential. Equally, the smaller works of discarded fag butts in an ashtray and the remains of a meal, remind one of the symbolism and dexterity of Old Masters, but also the complexity of contemporary social interaction, and all that an event might carry.