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VIC REEVES | 'Drinkers' Exhibition & Prints Launch
June 5th 2015
‘Drinkers’, an exhibition of work by artist and comedian Vic Reeves at Lutyens Wine Bar in Fleet Street runs until mid July 2015. Works on show include a pair of new limited edition Eyestorm prints and an original painting, all commissioned especially for the space and featuring wine-sipping characters dressed in 1930s attire to reference the history of Fleet Street. Angie talks more about the works below.

Doesn’t time fly? This is something I often find myself contemplating more and more as I get older. A friend of mine was recently reading a book where one of the chapters was ‘Why does time appear to go faster as we get older?’ After a brief conversation about why we all thought so, she carried on reading the book and I never actually found out what the author had suggested.

My point is that it doesn’t seem like as long as two years ago that we were launching Lucie Bennett’s ‘Naked Burgundy’ series, our first project with Lutyens wine bar back in 2013. In June 2014 Noma Bar was commissioned to make works for the venue - a Prescott & Conran-owned establishment on Fleet Street - which saw him produce the two ‘Full Bodied’ prints that have become increasingly popular over the past year, and this year it was artist and much-loved TV personality Vic Reeves’ turn to take the limelight. The brief is simple and the same each time: make a series of images that somehow reference Lutyens wine bar. It can be as loosely connected as having a loose wine association (as in with Lucie Bennett’s ‘Naked Burgundy’ series), or as with Noma’s approach, to comment on the social side of enjoying a glass of wine.

For this year’s Lutyens prints, Vic Reeves has gone that little bit further, not only referencing the drinking of wine while socializing, but also drawing on the history of the infamous Fleet Street where Lutyens is located. The bar and restaurant - one of a number of London businesses owned by Peter Prescott and Sir Terence Conran - occupies the magnificent former Reuters building, and this heritage is important to the current occupants, so much so that the floor of the wine bar features ticker tape imagery, a fantastic attention to detail. With this in mind, and as a lover of history and great architecture himself (when he arrived at the private view evening he spent some time outside discussing the building with Peter Prescott), the characters Vic Reeves has created for the two new prints - the fantastic Men Drinkers and Lady Drinkers - are dressed in 1930s attire, as if original patrons of nearby drinking holes, some of which still stand, tucked away in alley ways near St. Bride’s church, which occupies the space next door to Lutyens.

And these works, along with original painting Picnic Drinkers which is also on show, will not disappoint fans of Reeves’ art. In his signature playful, amusing and almost always surreal style, he’s created images that provoke conversation for longer than most. When Reeves first showed me Men Drinkers in a picture message while I was sitting at home in front of my TV, we had a long text conversation about who we thought the characters were. He immediately said the second from the left was his friend and fellow actor and comedian Charlie Higson (whether this was intentional or not I’m not sure), and that next to him in the middle was David Hockney. I thought the guy on the left in the red trousers looked like an old Sean Lock and that the one on the far right had definitely been in Dallas and The Naked Gun films (George Kennedy?). We also had a conversation about how small their feet were and I learned there was no reason for this at all, of course.

In the second of the two prints, Lady Drinkers - note he didn’t call them ‘women’, four ‘ladies’ bypass the wine glass and swig directly from the bottle with one hand, while holding their clutch bags in the other. They’re rather eloquently dressed in pre WW2 attire; three quarter length coat, dainty hats and bows, but on closer look, their faces are a little scary but mostly funny - the relevance of the glass eye demonstrated by the one on the right is something I failed to ask.

I’m a big fan of Vic Reeves, as an artist, as a comedian and as a person. Over the years I’d like to say we’ve become good friends, and so I hope I’m not bias when I say I think these works are rather excellent. With the original painting Picnic Drinkers (those trousers!), these works are amusing, entertaining and the perfect choice for someone who doesn’t take life too seriously.

Men Drinkers and Lady Drinkers are limited edition prints of 25. Picnic Drinkers is an original painting. See them online along with other work by the artist here.
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