As fans of this giant of TV comedy might expect, Vic Reeves’ art works mix the surreal and the mundane in a seriously amusing way. Ram-raiding disparate sources of contemporary iconography from celebrities to wildlife and explosives, Reeves’ playfully deranged works are held together by their stylistic tact and control. Although Reeves is predominantly known as a comedian, he has always been primarily an artist, having studied art at Sir John Cass College in Whitechapel in the mid 80s before moving to New Cross where he started a performance art piece at local pub The Goldsmiths Tavern which he called Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out. It was during one of these performances that he met future comedy partner Bob Mortimer and the rest, as they say, is history.
The artists Jake and Dinos Chapman describe Reeves’ art as “able to command our laughter as a purgative, to encourage the viewer to leak at both ends”. In 2005, Eyestorm commissioned Reeves to produce ‘Birds and Their Interactions With Humans’, a collection of twelve lithographs taken from a body of work that focuses on real and fictional birds, some of which appear in amusing fabricated situations with celebrities One piece features the ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev “imitating a ‘smew’ as it passes over his house in the direction of the railway lines”. Others, more minimally, present a singular rook that appears to be marching in a bola hat, or a ‘crested tit’ on an interestingly shaped branch with what appears to be a Mohican hairstyle. The work was exhibited at Eyestorm’s three UK based franchise galleries retrospectively that year. June 2007 saw the autobiographical exhibition ‘My Family and Other Freaks’ at Eyestorm’s South bank gallery, where original drawings from his recent book Me:Moir (a play on his real name Jim Moir and the word ‘memoir’) were shown alongside paintings and studies of his close family. April 2009 sees the launch of Reeves’ third major exhibition with Eyestorm. Titled ‘Where Eagles Tremble’, it features a new series of paintings that illustrate a fictional story written by Reeves about the life and career of enigmatic film actor Alan Todd, who makes aviation films featuring WWII airplanes. Surreal and humorous like his comedy and previous artwork, these new works are beautifully crafted and sublimely absurd, and once again prove that he is not just a comedy genius but a serious visual artist who will take you to another dimension with his perplexing imagination.