About Guy Reid
As a sculptor working in lime wood, Reid's carvings are sometimes left in the natural wood but more often painted or partially painted. It is the body itself, both naked and clothed, which fascinates Reid, evoking the complex nature of human being.
During his early 20's, Reid spent some time in Buddhist monastries both in India and Thailand and once even considered becoming a monk. To explore further his interest in theology, Guy undertook an MA at King's College London in 1993, writing a thesis on the realtionship between revelation and art. The philosophical debate surrounding this subject and its reflections on the tangible 'reality' of creation have had a considerable impact on his work. Reid believes that metaphysical reality can be glimpsed through physical reality. This is perhaps reflected most in his studies of Andrew and other people close to him.
Reid has since spent several periods in Benadictine retreat houses where the influence of the rhythms of work, contemplation and the love of simplicity which cradle daily life have provided a profound foundation for his personal and working life.
Whilst Reid would describe himself as an agnostic, he continues to remain interested in the spiritual life. Though suspicious of religion and its dangers, he feels that it remains, at a profoundly subconscious level, something human beings are intriqued by and engaged with both positively and negatively.
'Hurry ruins saints as well as artists. They want quick success and they are in such a hurry to get it that they cannot take time to be true to themselves. And when the madness is upon them they argue that their very haste is a species of integrity.'
Thomas Merton 1948
Reid works from both live models and photographs. When working on portraits, the engagement he has with the individuals who sit for him is central to his work. This is reflected in the thorough and personal photographic basis of the sculptures. The artist has pointed out that whilst his carving draws on traditions of European gothic and early renaissance lime wood sculpture, it is the photographic basis of his work which gives to his sculptures a perplexing exactness that medieval sculpture could never achieve. The originality of Guy’s work lies partly in this marriage of traditional practice and photography.
His repeated studies of his partner Andrew represent a tender and questioning examination of a life shared and form the central focus of his work along with other studies of people close to him. Reid sees this body of work as an ongoing documentation of a life.
The artist's friend, artist David Blamey, has conversely observed that his studies of children offer a similar degree of intimacy, but in his view ''it is the detatchment that comes from the fact that Reid is not a father* and the mediation of the photographic process that gives the children's individual character expression''. He says, "These kids have the unnerving presence of adults. Our gaze is returned by the future neurotic, the future man-eater, the future captain of industry".
In recent years the artist has also been working within the tradition of relief carving. It is the illusion of depth created by a play with shadow, light and perspective which interests the artist. Whilst sculptures in their own right, many of these relief works are indeed studies of Guy’s fully three dimensional sculptures and as such bare a close relation to the study drawings traditionally used by sculptors.
Guy Reid lives and works in the countryside South of Toulouse. Silence, place, time and space, rhythm and discipline remain central to his work.
* Guy has since become a father to a daughter named Pearl in 2012
Education and Exposure
Arriving from South Africa in 1967 aged 4, Reid was educated at the Priory Comprehensive School Wimbledon. In 1975 he moved to Shropshire where he attended Meole Brace Secondary Modern School and later the Priory Grammer School in Shrewsbury.
Having completed his first degree in Politics and History at North London Polytechnic he commenced an apprenticeship with the Spink Restoration workshop (now Arlington Conservation). In 1995 he completed an MA in Systematic Theology at King's College London.
Reid's reputation was established in the 1990s, with his first Solo Show in the summer of 1999 receiving strong reviews. Other exhibitions followed in London, Manchester, Yorkshire, Birmingham and Liverpool, and internationally in New York, Miami,Toulouse and Paris.
Public commissions include the controversial and much acclaimed nude Madonna and Child at St Matthew's Westminster, a figure of Adam for Mirfield College, Yorkshire, a sculpture of St Editha for Polesworth Abbey, 14 lifesize portraits held permanetly at the Avoncroft Museum Bromsgrove and a portait of the painter Glynn Boyd Harte for the Art Workers Guild London. In 2006 Reid completed a nude crucifixiton for Saint George's Church Paris.
His 2009 installation for La Maison Patrimonial de Barthète at Boussan, France is also held permanently by the museum.
Guy Reid lives and works in Benque d'Aurignac, near Toulouse, South West France.
Private commissions include portaits of the authors Philip Pullman and Dame Jackie Wilson.
In June 2013 the French art house publishers Analogues published a book 'NOUS' which focus' on Reid's portraits of those people closest to him.The book is available in good art book sellers or online directly from Analogues
Reid's work can be found in important private collections worldwide.