Bex and the Pit Bull

Bex and the Pit Bull

Stuart Spence refers to his No Mean Feet series as portraits.

The feet of one legged carnie killers, ditsy heartbreakers, madmen, and mass murderers all stand side by side in this series.

It's as if Spence has found an old deck of a picture card game, the one where different characters' top halves may be joined to another's bottom half; sailors with hula dancers, cowboys and pinup girls etc., only Spence has discarded the top cards.  The artist invites us to imagine what our top card might be, gently forcing the viewer to work to complete his portraits.

These photographs are not a cutesy, easy get, either, far from it. Spence’s penchant for the dark and unsettling runs deep, and whilst humour does play a role in No Mean Feet, there is often a sucker punch hidden just behind the smirk.

Adding to the imagery, Spence has penned a series of written pieces to accompany each work. Scraps of diary entries, letters, short stories, newspaper clippings and postcards all hold hands with the images, sometimes affectionately, other times like awkward relatives.

With this writing, Spence seems to be teasing out what else is lurking within each image, what other hidden stories might require a different voice with which to speak. He is not afraid to mix media, to add layers, subtract, guide, mix voices and narratives.  It seems like the photograph for this artist is just stage one, a springboard into a deep, dark, creative pool of possibilities.