Guy Jocelyn Reid is a British/French artist who was born in Johannesburg in 1963 and grew up in London and Shropshire. After having completed his BA in Politics and History at North London Polytechnic in 1984, Reid began training as a classical carver and restorer, going on to work for the world-renowned Spink Workshop (now Arlington Conservation), where he completed work for institutions as varied as the Metropolitan Museum New York, the Getty Museum California, Harewood House and the Sir John Soane Museum London.
As a portrait sculptor working in limewood, Reid's carvings can be painted, partially painted or left entirely unpainted.
It is the body itself, both clothed and naked which interests Reid, evoking the complex nature of being human. At times his work carries an irresistible, contemplative force. Art critics have described certain pieces as beautiful and ugly in almost the same breath.
Whilst studying for his MA in Theology at Kings College London in 1995, Reid became interested in the relation between art and revelation.The philospophical debate surrounding this subject, particularly its reflections on the capacity of 'reality' to convey the transcendent and metaphysical have been a significant influence on his work and he has lectured on the subject. Whilst Reid would describe himself as an agnostic, he continues to remain profoundly interested in the spiritual life.
Reid works from both live models and photographs. When working on portraits, the engagement he has with the individuals who sit for him is central to his work. This is reflected in the thorough and personal photographic basis of his sculptures. The artist has pointed out that whilst his carving draws on traditions of European gothic and early renaissance lime wood sculpture, it is the photographic basis of his work which gives to his sculptures a perplexing exactness that medieval sculpture could never achieve. The originality of Guy’s work lies partly in this marriage of traditional practice and photography.
His repeated studies of his partner Andrew represent a tender and questioning examination of a life shared and form the central focus of his work along with other studies of people close to him. Reid sees this body of work as an ongoing documentation of a life.
In recent years the artist has also been working within the tradition of relief carving. It is the illusion of depth created by a play with shadow, light and perspective which interests the artist. Whilst sculptures in their own right, many of these relief works are indeed studies of Guy’s fully three dimensional sculptures and as such bare a close relation to the study drawings traditionally used by sculptors. Critics have described his relief studies as 'explosions' of the classic sculpture in the round.
Guy Reid lives and works in the countryside South of Toulouse. Silence, place, time and space, rhythm and discipline remain central to his work.
Education and Exposure
Arriving from South Africa in 1967 aged 4, Reid was educated at the Priory Comprehensive School Wimbledon. In 1975 he moved to Shropshire where he attended Meole Brace Secondary Modern School and later the Priory Grammer School in Shrewsbury.
Having completed his first degree in Politics and History at North London Polytechnic he commenced an apprenticeship with the Spink Restoration workshop (now Arlington Conservation). In 1995 he completed an MA in Systematic Theology at King's College London.
Reid's reputation was established in the 1990s, with his first Solo Show in the summer of 1999. Other exhibitions followed in London, Manchester, Yorkshire, Birmingham and Liverpool, and internationally in New York, Miami,Toulouse and Paris.
Public commissions include the controversial and much acclaimed nude Madonna and Child at St Matthew's Westminster, a figure of Adam for Mirfield College, Yorkshire, a sculpture of St Editha for Polesworth Abbey, 14 lifesize sculptural portraits held permanetly at the Avoncroft Museum Bromsgrove and a portait of the painter Glynn Boyd Harte for the Art Workers Guild London. In 2006 Reid completed a nude Christ Resurrected for Saint George's Church Paris.
His 2009 installation for La Maison Patrimonial de Barthète at Boussan, France is also held permanently by the museum.
Private commissions include portaits of the authors Sir Philip Pullman and Dame Jackie Wilson. Other portraits include those of TV chat show host Alan Carr, journalist, club hostess and political activist Amy Lamé, of diplomat and negotiator of the Anglo Irish Agreement, Sir Alan Goodison, of writer and journalist Mark Vernon and writers and illustrators Nick Sharratt and Ian Beck.
In June 2013 the French art house publishers Analogues published a book 'NOUS' which focus' on Reid's portraits of those people closest to him.The book is available in good art book sellers or online directly from Analogues
Guy Reid's portrait of best selling author Dame Jacqueline Wilson won the Society of Portrait Sculptors annual prize for best portrait of 2015
Reid's work can be found in important private collections worldwide.
Guy Reid lives and works in Benque d'Aurignac, near Toulouse, South West France.He is married to his longtime partner Andrew and they have a daughter Pearl. In 2017 he acquired French nationality and is a duel French/British citizen.
I'm absloutely bowled over not only by the detail-which is small enough to have been done by the Tailor of Gloucester-but by the overall shape and feel and gestalt of it. That's ME, small enough to hold in the hand....and so entirely there. Sir Philip Pullman writing on his 'Little Me' portrait by Guy.
aim in portrait sculpture is to present a sensitive and immediate likeness within a balanced and elegant composition. Success entails unlocking the essence of my subject and this I accomplish by working from live sittings, drawings and photographs. We agree the place and frequency of sittings before beginning the sculpture and I work closely with my client/sitter throughout.