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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Guy Reid

Guy Reid

Guy Reid is a British artist who was born in Johannesburg in 1963 and grew up in London and Shropshire. After having completed his BA in Politics and History at North London Polytechnic in 1984, Reid began training as a classical carver and restorer, going on to work for the world-renowned Spink Workshop (now Arlington Conservation), where he completed work for institutions as varied as the Metropolitan Museum New York, the Getty Museum California, Harewood House and the Sir John Soane Museum London. He is considered to be one of the finest living carvers.

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.

In 1985 Guy Reid began training as a classical carver and restorer. He went on to work for the world renowned Spink workshop, where he completed work for institutions as varied as the Metropolitan Museum New York, The Getty Museum California, Harewood House and The Sir John Soane Museum London.

Reid’s lime wood carvings are often partially painted or left in the natural wood. He works from both live models and photographs. The originality of Guy’s work lies partly in this marriage of traditional practice and photography. The artist has stipulated 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 his sculptures an astounding similarity that the medieval sculpture could never achieve.

Guy Reid lives and works in the countryside South of Toulouse. Silence, place, time and space, rhythm and discipline remain central to his work. 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, Liverpool, New York, Miami, Toulouse and Paris.

He has recently been commissioned to do two portraits of the writer Philip Pullman. These are the first in a series of seven children’s author and illustrator portraits commissioned by the publisher David Fickling. The second subject is Dame Jacqueline Wilson, and the third the writer and illustrator Nick Sharratt.

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