The stylistic flair and luminous visual appeal of Lessels’ oil paintings form an unexpected juxtaposition with the far more serious and somewhat poignant issues that inform his practice. Lessels is concerned with the ever-broadening gap between humans and nature and the depreciating relationship with other living creatures that can result in their misrepresentation and manipulation. These animals resonate with a new energy, on a different frequency, with an unnaturalness that renders them otherworldly yet familiar, dubious yet attractive.
Lessels has employed subtle anatomical displacements to convey the idea that our cultivation and domestication of animals may result in unpredictable changes in their appearance, a situation that is heightened as urban living filters our experience of nature through monitor screens. These are animals for the city with a billboard vibrancy. The fact that some of Lessels’ animals have been labelled ‘dog’ or ‘goat’ emphasises the sense of alienation we may feel in the face of these hybrid specimens.