"The work bubbles, its cells weaving freely in and out of each other like the organism they compose. The wry and decompressed attitude towards imagery and abstraction exhibits witty unpretentiousness taken to the point of revelation. It moves beyond the living margins, zooming right into a floating, shimmering, half-remembered dream world. A murmur trembling on verge of coherence. Perfect for those desperate for sensation in the monochromatic, decontextualised city. Here, everything smells sad and good like it does after a heavy rain." Richard Carbut (from Keep Warm This Winter – Make Trouble an interview with Jamie Reid 3am Magazine)
“Painting may be performed, enacted in a state of grace or ecstasy, a mystical trance. Most painters will understand what it is like to enter this state, a channeling of power, focusing of the will; a raising of power, being answered by the spirits as the possession takes hold. There is an outpouring, a rendering-flesh of a thought, idea, feeling - translating the intangible through the medium of paint. ….The act is thought as direct expression, a letting-out or release, a mystical experience.” Stephanie Moran (from An Experiment to Test Belief in Art)
The strategy for this exhibition (Jamie’s first solo showing at the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop) is to present Reid’s smaller paintings on paper, canvas and slate using a traditional ‘painting exhibition’ format. A minimal number of works will be isolated, framed and hung sparingly, so the viewer can be focused in on the intense worlds they portray. Despite this fetishisation (and commodification) of the paintings it must still be remembered that that isn’t necessarily what they are. The individual works are just a miniscule part of a longstanding and ongoing creative process that embodies the spiritual, political and creative beliefs of the artist, and as such, can only be properly understood within that wider context.
Jamie Reid's practice as an artist sits firmly within a tradition of English radical dissent that would include, for example, William Blake, Wat Tyler and Gerrard Winstanley. Like them, the work of dissent must offer, out of necessity, other social and spiritual models and Reid's practice is no exception.
Although Reid is known primarily for the deployment of Situationist strategies in his iconic work for the Sex Pistols and Suburban Press, the manifold strands of his art both continue that work whilst showing us other ways in which we can mobilise our energy and spirituality. It is this dialectic between gnosticism and dissent that lies at the heart of Reid's practice and makes him one of the great English iconoclastic artists.
Jamie Reid's unique vision articulates and gives form to some of the key issues of our times. He responds to the ever-increasing attacks on our civil liberties and shared common spaces with passionate anger and savage humour, and shows us ways in which we might re-organise our political and spiritual resources. This is the role of the shaman and Reid's art acts like a lightning rod, returning us to the earth so that we might share the work of healing.
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