6 Apr 2009

Where Eagles Tremble

VIC REEVES’ suit may have upstaged his art. Despite atmospheric twilight, he insisted on the flash when I took his portrait. It turned out to be interwoven with reflective hi-vis strands… I had come to see the on the wall artistic output of a comedian often described as ‘off it’. ‘Where Eagles Tremble’ is a series of canvases illustrating the one page fiction of Alan Todd, ‘athletic’ 4’5” tall, world war II obsessed filmstar. The venue is a bijou former clothes boutique annexed to the glamorous restaurant, cocktail bar and lounge, ‘Mews of Mayfair’. The inherited mottled sky ceiling of the Indica like space complimented the vigorous, somewhat childlike paintings of airborne planes, although enduring cubicle fittings looked peculiar.
According to organisers ‘Eyestorm’, Reeves (whose real name is Jim Moir) has always been primarily an artist, having studied it in the mid ‘80’s. Several attendees assured eachother that the paintings, including ‘Return to Gayport’, ‘Scum’ and ‘The Puff’ were “very Vic”. But what does that mean? According to the P.R. bumf, it gives licence to be ‘playfully deranged’ and ‘sublimely absurd’, or ‘Spike Milligan without the genius’ as my friend preferred to put it. My favourite painting was actually hidden in a corridor. I wouldn’t have seen it if someone hadn’t opened the door, thwacking one of the curators in the process. Unlike the majority, it was free from an on canvas subtitle. A slightly over-cropped, sausage fat fuselage felt particularly present and comical, with details picked in a distinctive red.
Whilst likeable, these paintings (which could be yours from £1500) are never going to be as surreal as Reeves life, which reads remarkably. His mother was an amateur medium. He buried his vintage Austin. Playgirl offered him £250,000 for a nude centrefold. With ‘Dizzy’, he had a number one single. He recently recorded a programme about tweed. And he is – irony aside - a keen ornithologist, reflected in an earlier artistic commission. The surreal is always a welcome temptation, especially in murky economic times. Ultimately however, these canvases have the feel of albeit very large postcards. They lack the spirit of surprise, poise and fantastically peculiar authorship that I associate with Reeves (and his dazzling suit).
See Where Eagles Tremble until 29th April
Mews of Mayfair - New Bond St., London. W1S 1EY. T. 020 7518 9388
For The London Word

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