Images which distil the colours, sounds and smells of experience are the domain of Philip
Reeves. Beatrice Colin met the artist.
‘Did you see the full moon last night?’ asks artist. Philip Reeves. ‘Wasn’t it fantastic‘?‘ Reeves is an artist whose work is based on these memories; the light of the moon, the noise of a souk, or the colour ofthe shadows in a Mediterranean city. Working with collage, print and paint. he constructs evocative pieces with an underlying narrative.
His work is being shown this month in two galleries; one is holding a retrospective of ten years. l983—l993. and the other an exhibition of new small pieces.
Philip Reeves has been a key ﬁgure in the setting up of the printmaking infrastructure in Scotland. He was one of the founders ofthe Glasgow Pn'nt Studio and the Edinburgh Printmakers and he started the printmaking course at Glasgow School of Art where he taught for several decades.
His own work has also been hugely influential and using colour. surface texture and occasionally found objects,
there is a simplicity and sympathy in his style which makes even the most abstract pieces accessible and visually pleasing.
‘When you start off you have an idea in your mind ofexactly what you want. The paradox is that if that idea suddenly appears. it doesn‘t seem to be right because you're just illustrating something.‘ he says. ‘l find something else that is running parallel with the idea and might also pick up other ideas from other sources which I have seen or rlrawn. Eventually. I might get several images belonging to different areas eventually merging into one final piece.‘
With titles like Chalk Cliﬂ‘xlt Tit-ilight. Lock 0/1 The Nile. and Autumn Share. the work is realised in a process where memory and perception are defined in colour and form.
‘Some people have categorised me as a landscape artist.‘ he points out. ‘But that‘s perhaps a bit too easy because it‘s not a landscape as most people think of a landscape. It‘s what happens in the landscape when you stumble across it
Fragment: ‘I didn't etch it. the weather did.’ which interests me.‘
More recent work has incorporated found pieces. Orbital Farm is a collage with print. paint and a circle ofbattered bakelite. Set against strips of aubergine. chocolate and moss green. the piece suggests time passing. ‘l‘m interested in the very strata of the tonal range of colour and also in the difference in warmth or coolness which could either represent seasonal change or change in the month.‘ he points out.
Fragment is an etching of an old piece of metal. ‘I don't know what this belonged to.’ Reeves says. ‘I didn‘t etch it. the weather did. Maybe it's from a roof of a house or a car. it‘s just a piece of metal. With completely unknown things. you print them and you give them a life.‘
()ver tea we discuss Douglas Gordon‘s 24 Hour Psycho. We agree that slowed down Hitchcock was a new visual experience. ‘Ah.‘ he says. ‘But a ﬂeeting glance can be just as powerful.‘ Philip Reeves at the Lillie Art Gallery until 2 ()(‘t and at Cyril Gerber Fine Art until 2 Oct.
The New Arts series at Kelvingrove is an opportunity for young artists to show work at a critical time of their career. Against the glorious backdrop of the gallery’s collection, the contrast is especially exciting and illuminating.
Stephen Skrykna’s show, Borrowed light, fizzes with its own energy. Set in one of the wide upstairs corridors, sculpture, installations and furniture, made from old cast iron baths, musical instruments, cement mixers, vitrified china and other finds from the junkyard sit gracefully on the marble floors. With the addition of water, powdered paint, lead and glass, he has created works which capture the transience of a moment or the poetic nature of a metamorphosis.
“My work deals with the potential energy which scintillates within both people and objects,’ he claims. “It’s over prone to change. ‘fhere is a constant shifting of axis as energy is trapped and released in a perpetual cycle of repair and renewal.’
A piece of Skrykna’s work was cornmisioned last year for the bar, The lounge. Ills use of silvery white bait and blood-red chilll peppers lying in
rows between thick slabs of glass was a promise of things to come. Borrowed light, is his first solo show, and likewise uses materials in an imaginative and sympathetic way.
llrfa is the most immediately arresting piece. Set on two curved stone walls, a dipped circle of glass
holds a few inches of water. Small pockets of glass float on the surface and send crystal ripples on to powdered blue paint on the floor below.
A sculpture called Heart embeds a trumpet in a great slab of rough alabaster, to create a piece which resonates with silence. Installation is a lead structure entered by a small
Ferris by Stephen Skryk
door in a cast iron bath. Inside glass stalagmites drips gently with water. likewise, Springbum Boiler is a huge cylindrical plated steel construction with spy holes cut in at different levels which reveal an interior sliced by a swirl of metal. (Beatrice Colin) Borrowed light is at Kelvingrove Art Galleries until 14 Nov.
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The List 10—23 September 1993 57