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This series of works reconceptualises multiple fragments of cultural detritus, effortlessly synergizing the profane and the commodified to create new signification. Beyond the surface beauty, the reproduced image can offer society cultural symbols, badges of identity and a shared common languages that can be utilized to create universal communication.
Semple explores not only the multiplicity of meaning in the popular milieu but also the rapidly changing and diverse nature of the mediums in which we consume cultural products. He has reproduced many seemingly mechanical reproductions by hand, utilizing thousands of tiny black and white dots. The production is invariably epic; in ‘Heaven help me for the way I am’ the artist portrays in minute detail across two tondi, a 3d crucifix and reflective oil slick an assassinated man, the DeLorean from Back to the Future and an ominous female emerging from the shadows.
Semple works to capture the sense of catastrophe within the manufactured image and therefore the recording of mass culture itself is highlighted across the series in his freezing of snap-shot moments, a pivotal point of crisis for the image itself, often embellished with painterly emotive stokes. This body of work is an unsettling but exquisite invitation to ask questions about our shared mythologies and our personal relationship with the colorful, fractured world we inhabit that is transforming with ever paralyzing intensity.
“They all have this idea of a failed moment or the collapse of a particular situation. They occupy this place where the tragedy has happened, where atomization and individualism have reached a peak and the individual is literally stranded. I think the key word for everything here might be entropy.”
The breadth of Semple’s frame of reference is a constant adventure; the title for this series of works ‘Everlasting Nothing Less’ derives from a lyric in UK indie rock act Manic Street Preachers seminal anthem ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’. In Semple’s centre piece ‘Angelus’, the motorbike in question is the black Ducatti from the iconic Puff Daddy music video ‘Missing You’ dedicated to the memory of his dearly departed friend the Notorious B.I.G. Also in ‘Angelus’ we see the artist assume the poses from Millet’s original work. To the artist this is the ultimate reproduced memetic image and profoundly emotionally resonant as he personally prayed most days for the first 13 years of his life in front of it, regularly encountering the work in Catholic family members houses.