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artist statement
See also - BIO
 Inside Passage catalogue 
The London Paintings
  installation images
 © 2017, Richard Reid
- all rights reserved


"The human figure has been a predominant part of my work since I first began making art.  As I more consciously explored what I considered to be the 'human condition', it became apparent to me that the place where we live - the earth - is inseparable from our physical presence.  For the past few years, the underlying form of the human figure in much of the work has become less obvious as 'landscape characteristics' reflect my personal environment.  This is where I live!

There is an amalgamation in the painting processes with understated concerns for many contemporary issues - such as climate change, human atrocities, violence, aggression, racism, religious and social intolerance.  These concerns are clearly not depicted in an obvious way. Such awareness need not be graphically forced to be present.  This is an intuitive personal approach, and only vaguely conceptual.

Throughout the painting process, the fleeting nature of vision, memory, recall and transformation are reflected in the work.

The 'image' made on canvas or paper is transformed and filtered through visual memory, experiential processing, emotional responses, as well as extraneous thought, and is further transformed through the process of making marks with paint and brush. The marks become objects of interest, in and of themselves.  The results often appear to have only 'passing' reference to the original vision or thought.  Everything changes when that first mark is made on a canvas; it presents a new experience, which then leads to another, and then another, and the process of invention, intervention, with unlimited choices and decisions, leading to an end result. (Not always a satisfactory result)  The choice about what seems to be 'working', and what is not, is a very subtle thing, based on personal experience with art, and history, and a sense of the aesthetic. This is a modernist view, not very popular in postmodern culture.

During the act of drawing or painting, memory and recall become mixed with concepts of evolution, decay, change, the human condition, and constantly confronted social issues. It also invokes a distinct change in the moment of seeing, from what seems real to what is interpreted in a magical way, like making the invisible visible.  Interpreted, of course … paint on canvas is, after all, just paint on canvas.  Throughout the process, the mind filters and synthesizes a virtual image that reflects the fleeting nature of vision, memory, experiential processing, emotional responses, as well as extraneous thought, and is further transformed through the physical process of mark making with paint and brush.

When I look at something, even study it; then turn my head away for a moment - perhaps intending to paint or draw my response; in that moment, everything changes.  I may retain a memory of what I saw, but it's not the same thing. I'm interested in that transformative space between; between that momentary, fleeting glimpse, and then it's translation with paint into marks, made with the end of a brush, at the end of my arm, onto canvas - between thought and object.  I am intrigued by the almost magical, and not exactly in control, appearance of fascinating combinations of color, shape, texture, suggestive forms that happen when marks meet paper or canvas.

I find actual landscape to be quite sensual, with all its undulating forms and textures - the use of the human figure merging with landscape has reflected this quality. In the studio, it is mostly at the moment when paint touches the canvas, that this becomes so apparent.  There is a moment of transformation/transfiguration that seems to occur almost beyond my control.  At that point, the 'literal' no longer interests me; an intuitive process takes over, and the physical paint, canvas, and the less than conscious marks that are made, become of interest.  This gradual evolution has led to a slightly more graphic approach and an increased interest in the paint surface, the emotive effects of colour, layering of landscape elements, and many visual experiences such as banding, perspective anomalies, foreground / background relationships.

Richard Reid, January, 2017