Of gods and monsters - Paul Reid for 108 Fine Art

Paul Reid's Stranded on the Island of Circe, Oil on canvas, 2014.

Paul Reid's Stranded on the Island of Circe, Oil on canvas, 2014.

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By Graham Chalmers

One of the greatest figurative painters to have emerged from Scotland in recent years is to hold his first solo exhibition in England for five years at a Harrogate gallery.

Renowned for rejecting many of contemporary art’s current values, Paul Reid’s show at 108 Fine Art gallery follows on from his highly-successful Edinburgh Festival exhibition at The Scottish Gallery earlier in the year.

Simultaneously traditional and daring, Reid’s work is full of magnificent creatures half-human, half-beast, full of lonely nobility.

While his style often harkens back to old masters such as Rembrandt and Caravaggio, the content reimagines themes from classical art and mythology.

Running from September 11 to October 11, The Art of Mythmaking sees Reid ransacking a range of mythic sources, from Hesiod to Ovid, in his quest for some inspiring tale or intiguing incident.

As with the great mythological painters of the past, from the Athenian masters of black-figure painting to the history painters of the 16th and 17th centuries such as Titian, Velasquez, Rubens and Poussin, Reid scours and plunders a wide range of stories and legends to utilise the inventive power of his interpretive imagination.

The majority of the paintings created for this current show are smaller works, allowing the artist to explore an extended range of subjects and ideas before embarking on larger versions of the paintings later this year.

Chosen by New Statesman as one of the Best of Young British under the age of 35 in 2002, the now 39-year-old artist never sets out merely to illustrate old myths, but rather, through the complex methods of his art-making practices, he ends up creating new ones.

One of Reid’s newest works, Stranded on the Island of Circe, oil on canvas, sets the story of Odysseus on a Hebridean island.

The accompanying catalogue for The Art of Mythmaking will include an essay by Bill Hare, Honorary Teaching Fellow in Scottish Art History at The University of Edinburgh.

108 Fine Art Gallery is located at 16 Cold Bath Road, Harrogate.

www.108fineart.com