Dene Leigh’s practice investigates neurological impairment and the fragility of the human memory. The artist’s work endeavours to make sense of his grandfather’s difficulty with memory following a stroke. The artist’s grandfather experienced life with the consequences of the stroke for several years before passing away. Leigh’s mother unexpectedly passed away soon after. The deaths along with the reminiscence of nostalgic moments drove Leigh to grasp the memories associated with those most important to him and those unknown to him.
The artist uses recurrent imagery, such as illegible lettering, ambiguous objects, and faces that have been obscured or blurred, to explore the three barriers to his grandfather’s everyday life that shook Leigh the most. These included the inability to grasp language in its written and spoken form and the inability to recognise once familiar faces and objects. Each overlapped and obscured image within the paintings adds another piece to the visibly decayed fragmented puzzle: some of those pieces are blurred and lost in time, while others are concrete.
The artist’s work embodies the desire to acknowledge memories. Leigh records interpretations of aged photographs of family members, as well as interpretations of found photographs, while juxtaposing them with fictitious imagery to delve into his memory. In doing so, the work tries to glimpse through the eyes of the artist’s grandfather, whilst solidifying the short-lived moments associated with human memory and the ultimate decay of everything and everyone around us.
Dene Leigh is a British Artist who studied at Wimbledon College of Arts, London. The artist is one of the winners of the 2021 SPACE Artist Awards. His work was shortlisted for the 2021 Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize and selected for the 2020 Derwent Art Prize held in London and Paris. The artist's work has been written about in international contemporary art publications Hi-Fructose and Daily Serving. Solo exhibitions include 'Ephemeral' (2018) and 'Agnosia' (2016) at Baert Gallery in Los Angeles. In recent years, the artist was selected to exhibit at the 2014 Young Masters Art Prize and the 2017 and 2018 Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. The artist lives and works in London and is represented by Baert Gallery Los Angeles.