|R i c h a r d R e i d
Some early paintings by Richard Reid
Two years after he graduated from the University of Manitoba's School of Art in 1955, Richard Reid spent the first six months of 1957 in San Miguel de Allende. A number of Canadian artists were already living there. Three works painted in Mexico show that he was absorbing some of the lessons of Cubism and responding to the prevailing influence of the time: Abstract Expressionism.
The following text was written by the artist on this stay in Mexico:
"During a six month period in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico in 1957, on a leave of absence from employment, I was able to concentrate on painting for a reasonable length of time. My interest in Cubism was very apparent in the work of that period. Although there were many facets of my limited visual experience with art history (largely from books) which might have been a trigger for my work, I deliberately chose to use Cubism as a kind of starting point. I believed at the time that in some way, Cubism as a movement had been very short-lived and wanted further exploration.
In San Miguel, I was not connected
with the art school, the Instituto Allende, but did meet several
artists there. Don Reichert, who had travelled with us (he had
a Triumph TR2, and I had an MGA), attended the school. I met
Jim Gordaneer, an artist from Ontario, when we first arrived.
He has been a colleague and friend eversince. After this productive
period of painting, the first sustained period after leaving
art school, we left Mexico, crossed close to the Tropic of Cancer
on June 21 to see if indeed there was no shadow at noon, and
returned to Canada a week or two later. A few weeks after attending
Don's wedding with Mary at Vancouver City Hall, I returned to
Winnipeg to the job at Carling's Brewery from which I had been
given a leave of absence. There, I continued the job of testing
beer for about a year, to pay my debts (1956 MG - new $2340).
In March, a group of us went from San Miguel to Manzanillo on the west coast for a week or so. We slept on the beach - there was no other place to stay in those days, no hotels. We lived on bananas, coconuts, limes, Red Snapper (huachinango), beer - all for less than $1.00 a day. We also made trips to Mexico City to see the murals at the University, to Guanajuato to see the mummies and the silver craftsmen, and searched the countryside several miles from San Miguel for rumoured small pyramids. Bev and I found two - they are very hard to spot even if you're standing next to them.
On one occasion, we followed
thousands of people walking on a religious pilgrimage from all
parts of Mexico to Guanajuato".