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VIC REEVES | NEW LINO CUT PRINTS

February 14th 2014
Many know Vic Reeves best as a TV comedian and one half of ‘Vic & Bob’, who are back on our screens at the moment with their new BBC sit-com ‘House of Fools’. What most people don’t know however is that he’s also a talented and prolific artist who spends a large majority of his spare time in his home studio making work.

Primarily a painter and an illustrator, and more recently also a potter, these new lino cut prints are a new departure for Reeves. The Eyestorm ‘bird’ editions from 2006 were lithographs but they were taken from sketches he’d made, so these new lino prints are the result of the first time he’s dabbled in hand printing his own creations and I think as first attempts they’re pretty good.

Taking his inspiration from well-known works by historical painters such as Rembrandt and Miller, Reeves introduces his own comical twist (would we expect anything less?). Rembrandt for example is a take on one of the 17th century Dutch painter’s many self-portraits, but instead of just depicting the artist himself, Reeves presents him as Charles Laughton, the actor who played Rembrandt in the 1936 British Film about the artist’s life. Perhaps I wouldn’t have necessarily known this by just looking at the piece, but when you make the connection it’s obvious, mainly in the chin area, where Laughton holds slightly more weight, so to speak, than the Dutchman, which Reeves has accentuated with the movement of his hand-cut lines. And there it is, the hidden humour that’s like an inside joke; a typical move from Reeves which causes himself to giggle every time he tells the story.

Man With Hoe references the 19th century painting ‘L'homme à la Houe’ by French painter Jean-Francois Millet. This particular work also inspired American poet Edwin Markham to write a poem with the same name, which in turn went on to become more famous the painting; published around 1898 it has been translated into 30 different languages, perhaps due its content (about a man being burdened by his work but receiving little rest or reward) being so easy to relate to. In the case of this print, Reeves puts humour to one side as he depicts the tired peasant leaning on his hoe after what looks like hours of labour, glancing out at the viewer for their empathy. This is a strong piece by Reeves that evokes a powerful message. Well-executed, although this print is in just one colour (sometimes printed onto coloured paper) the image is a detailed and successful one and it’s clear that a certain amount of work has gone into creating it.

The more light-hearted Stone Curlew sees Reeves return to his love of birds as he presents the ‘head and shoulders’ of one of his favourites, framed like a portrait with a psychedelic backdrop of spirals. Wide-eyed and still, the creature looks as if he’s posing for the portrait, which again introduces a subtle level of humour into the piece.

What’s also great about these works is that although they’ve been printed in editions of 10, each one is on different paper and in a different colour to the next, so really they’re individual works in themselves. And instead of signing them ‘Vic Reeves’ as he normally does, he’s signed them simply ‘Moir’, his real surname. A sign he’s taking his art more seriously perhaps? I doubt it.

See all the new prints along with other works by Vic Reeves here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
VIC REEVES
 
VIC REEVES
 
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