A critically acclaimed painter and established tattoo artist, Leslie Rice is known for his use of dramatic imagery drawn from the grand tradition of history painting. Blending high art and pop, Rice combines Mannerist tableaux, including mythological and biblical references, with the vultures, lions, skulls and buxom women seen tattooed on the bodies of his clients and friends.
Rice’s use of black velvet – widely considered the lowest of painting supports – evokes the cheapness of the flea market. However, instead of images of sunsets and pin-up girls, velvet provides a vehicle for Rice’s deep chiaroscuro, emphasising the clash of high and low in his works. Painted in a dark palette, Rice’s works are anathema to the brash amplitude of contemporary visual culture, and suggest a retreat from the golden age of Western painting.
Leslie Rice is a two-time winner of the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (2012, 2007) and has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize (2015, 2012, 2010, 2008) and the John Sulman Prize (2013).
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