Magnus Quaife’s practice has been described as that of a conceptual artist interested in paint and as being connected through an approach that is akin to an archaeology of the modern and contemporary. The defining aspect of his recent work in which these concerns have been explored is a visually playful exploration of the connection between the painted mark (the frozen gesture), and the representation or equivalent of that gesture in other media or materials. An attempt to unpick the relationship between haptic, indexical mark of the painter’s presence - the sign of the artist - and its reproduced equivalent. In doing so reconsidering the relationship between ostentatious virtuosity and anonymous execution in the painted surface. It is a practice that has most often been realised in paint and collage, but that has also led to brewing, zine making and projection. This is an unpicking and questioning of the material properties of painting and the master narratives that are still drawn upon to support it.
Earlier works considered the recirculation and re-imagination of images, materials and forms in the art world and beyond, and the emergence of myths as collective cultural or political memory was often the focus. From media images of the global uprisings of 1968 to the mountains in Cezanne’s paintings and Spielberg’s films, via phone masts pretending to be trees, Walter Benjamin’s grave, or Roland Barthes hobby paintings, these diverse subjects were connected by sense that nothing is quite what it seems.
He has exhibited internationally and across the UK and his work is in private and public collections. Born in 1975 in Nottingham he lives and works in Greater Manchester.