I can hardly believe I'm real
Vicki Reynolds (1946-2008)
3 March—1 April 2009
In the Gallery Café
Vicki Reynolds, Self-portrait Oil on board, 22 x 17 cm
This exhibition is a celebration of the life and work of the artist Vicki Reynolds. She was born in Portsmouth and studied at Goldsmiths' College and the Royal Academy Schools where she was awarded the Richard Ford Travelling Scholarship.
Significant influences on her work include El Greco, Cezanne, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and TS Eliot. She had been a regular visitor to the Prado in Madrid and her experience of landscape in Spain somehow imbued all her later work.
She said, "Painting is a way of being alive, not a way of life". Each new day presented a fresh opportunity to get to grips with the impossible, but wonderful task of imaging what her body experienced.
It sounds obvious to say that to understand Reynolds' work you have to look at the image itself, but actually looking at an image is a complicated business and makes considerable demands on the viewer. Unlike much of contemporary work, there is no text, what you see is what you get, but what you see will develop the more you look.
In the later period of her life, Reynolds always started a piece by working directly from a real landscape. She would often rework the image in a studio setting, but she would return to work from the original subject matter. This cycle was repeated several times. The image developed its own aesthetic logic, but it was never completely autonomous from the original landscape.