Simon Le Ruez makes sculptures, installations and drawings which reflect on notions of escape, longing, desire and possible places sought in order to find relief or refuge.

Working with materials as varied as leather, pearls, copper, wax and artificial trees Le Ruez’s recent work conjures a sense of imagined yet dislocated landscapes that seemingly oscillate somewhere between utopian and uncertain identities. While these works contrive to suggest strange, dream like, destinations, they also assume a series of metaphorical complexities through the surprising contexts or settings within which Le Ruez places them.

If the interpretation of landscape expresses an uninhibited narrative of fantasy in Le Ruez’s work, other works take on a more ambiguous and conceptual form, injecting a dose of conflict into the proceedings and jolting the viewer back to a very particular, visceral place. Pure Pleasure Seeker (2007), a replica of a lifebelt ring made out of red leather and knicker elastic, appears to bring an outside world in – it cheekily hints at abandonment and reckless celebration, yet one is simultaneously reminded that this form has a fundamental association with hazard and the prospect of danger. This and similar works appear to temper the experience with a degree of twisted reason, revealing tantalising implications and amplifying the overwhelming sense of urgency present.

Other titles of works, such as Lone Rider (2007), Il Monko (2006), and Without you I’m Nothing (2007) are evocative of someone standing off to one side, they imply a rigorous search and an almost confessional excavation of the soul. If this search is true on an emotional level, it could also be applied to the subversive way Le Ruez selects and uses materials. He has stated that making lies at the core of his work and this process of discovery is evident in a string of carefully staged aesthetic contradictions.

What unites the work is an inherent pivoting of physical and psychological tensions, the wistful promise of escape and fulfilment, and the playful suggestion of optimism tinged with an almost inevitable melancholic resolve.

Read Frederika Whitehead’s essay The life ring on John Donne’s Island