Madejski Gallery, Reading Museum, September 23rd 2023 until February 24th 2024.
We are thrilled to announce that artwork by Paul Reid, showcased by the 108 Fine Art Gallery, will be featured in the upcoming In the Company of Monsters: New Visions, Ancient Myths exhibition taking place in Reading this month.
Why do the monsters of Greek and Roman mythology continue to hold such an important place in visual culture today? What do their images and their stories mean for us today?
The exhibition In the Company of Monsters: New Visions, Ancient Myths explores these and other fundamental questions through the work of two contemporary artists: painter Paul Reid, and sculptor Eleanor Crook. In very different ways, these two artists draw on ancient mythology to explore themes of identity and the nature and boundaries of humanity. Though often the adversaries of heroes, monsters such as centaurs and the Minotaur emerge, in the work of both Reid and Crook, as complex figures, capable of evoking pathos rather than revulsion, simultaneously troubling and appealing in their combination of human and animal parts. Reid’s monsters are depicted with a painterly hyper-realism which challenges the apparent impossibility of their bodies, and brings them vividly to life. Crook’s work highlights their muscular physicality, while often winding them into troubling dreamscapes. Both artists confront the opportunities and challenges of art in the present day, through digital creation and even (in the case of Crook) ventures into AI, maintaining the eternal relevance of the monstrous form.
The exhibition organisers, Professors Emma Aston and Andrew Mangham, both of the University of Reading, themselves work on themes of monsters and monstrosity, in very different time-periods: Emma in ancient Greece, Andrew in the scientific thought of the nineteenth century. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public lectures by a range of specialists in different fields, details of which may be found here. These celebrate the inherent diversity of the monstrous form, by viewing them through the various lenses of science, computer games, ancient Egypt, and more.
– Professor Emma Aston