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In the foreword for the catalogue published for the exhibition, Curator Helen Sebelius writes:
The anticipation that accompanied me on my first visit to Richard Reid's studio in Grand Forks, British Columbia quickly escalated to the excitement and pleasure that I found in the task at hand once there. With over 50 years of artwork at my disposal, and the generosity and wisdom of my host, my curatorial assignment took on an air of exploration that eventually led to a line of investigation that was to become Variance.
Over several months Reid's long career unfolded before my eyes in the form of paintings, drawings, and prints. With each stack of work that he showed me his passion and his instinctual use of material and colour became increasingly evident and compelling. The fluid, and at times forceful marks that make up his loosely rendered images are testimonial to a practice where painting and passion meet. On viewing his artwork and hearing his stories I could only imagine that the excitement with which he approached his subjects was no less in 2009 then it was in the 1960's.
Reid's work can be divided into three distinct categories - the figure, the landscape, and the transfiguration or metamorphosis of one into the other. On the journey of getting to know each aspect of Richard's art practice, it was the tension filled enjoyment in viewing work that could seemingly move either way - toward figure or landscape - that held me captive. And, it was at this juncture where his manner of representation or his intuitive abstraction seemed to reside comfortably and securely with his chosen subjects. As my acquaintance with his work and the history that augmented it increased, I imagined that my choice in direction as curator was perhaps not unlike his as artist. That is, we were involved in making decisions about which path to follow and which story to paint or tell.
The colours, mark making and
forms that have become his signature articulate Reid's visceral
response to the figure and the landscape. The warm or cool palette,
the instinctive and confident gestures, and the persistent orb
like forms found in much of his work tell his stories with the
same calm or force that his words do. His visual language occupies
a space that exists between that which is recognizable and that
which is imaginary, and in the end functions as a narrative that
tells the story of his life long affair with image making. Variance
is but a précis of that story where we are witness to
the similarities and differences that Richard has discovered
in the figure and landscape.