DAVID REEKIE : STATEMENT Home

David Reekie My work is influenced by our reaction and adaptation to the society that surrounds us. We live in a world that grows more complex and difficult to comprehend. It has tensions and temptations that pull us in different directions. This creates characters and situations that provide a constant source of material from which I take my ideas.

STRANGERS Strangers, makes reference to the present day suspicions and fears of people in Europe to the influx of refugees and migrants into their countries.
Here in Norwich In the 16th Century, peoples from the then Low Countries, Belgium and Holland were welcomed as they fled from Spanish Catholic repression. They became known as The Strangers and although they brought with them wealth and new trades to the city of Norwich, suspicions and fears soon arose in the local population. But after a visit by Elizabeth I in 1578 in support of the newcomers, these fears gradually disappeared and the Strangers became an important and accepted part of the population.
Today, the movement and resettlement of refugees is a more complicated situation but the suspicions and fears that surround them, which are mostly unfounded, still exist. But as history has told us many times over these apprehensions do disappear as sympathy and acceptance grow.

Casual Bystanders 2015
I use the title in my new series Casual Bystanders in an ironic and somewhat sarcastic way, in that there are elements within our society and political elite, who are blind to the growing problems in society and stand casually by as these problems grow.

   
   

The Architects 2015
The absurdities and contradictions’ of the human condition have been a theme running through my work in recent years. The Architects are part of this thinking and suspicions, as in the phrase ‘beware of Greeks bearing gifts’. I touch on ideas regarding the rejection of unsuitable buildings and unaffordable housing in our society. I also question the underlying hidden agendas of negotiating in some of the troubled spots of our world.

Encounters

As I have already indicated my work is often an observation of human relationships and the way we react to each other through attitude, body language and facial expression. Encounters are a continuation of the earlier Dialogue series, but here I try to express a chance or an unexpected meeting. Each figure holds the same object, is there a sense of envy or embarrassment or are these offerings to appease a situation. There is both empathy and a hidden aggression in these pieces, but which one will unfold as the situation develops.
 This, as with all my work, is for the onlooker to decide.

Working as a figurative artist my work has a sacred element to it. Figures can easily become icons or totems indicating some spiritual significance, this can be enhanced by the viewer when looking at the work.
 In this pieces ‘ A Meeting of Minds’ the figures hold and nurture a simple object. Are they protecting the globe or treasuring it? Is it just a painted wooden ball or something more sacred?

David Reekie, April 2014.

I use the human figure to create a narrative and a sense of theatre in my work, this has directed my themes and ideas over many years.  It is always good to have a reason  to think through a new idea leading to a body of work. The Bodytalk exhibition has given me the inspiration for this new series, Marionettes.
Using the notion of manipulation in society, my imagination has drawn me to the idea of a genderless figure, seemingly free but held by rods that emanate from the figure’s body. This poses the question, are these ties that can be broken or is the figure the prisoner of a manipulated destiny?
 We are pushed and pulled by a society that has elements within it that want to control us and pull us in directions for their own benefit. These pieces will explore the idea of us as puppets and pawns and how we choose to deal with these pressures.
Conspire

JUST A PAWN, SERIES 2012

“In life we are pushed and pulled, twisted and turned, and often manipulated to other people’s ends. Are we sometimes pieces in a game? Do we need to know the rules and how to break these?”

“Found objects have been an important part of my work over the years and an inspiration to modern art in the 20th century. In the Just A Pawn series, I have used reclaimed turned wood from the Victorian era to make new body forms for this work. With the images of chess pieces in mind, I am asking the question, are we pawns in a game? Or can we recognize other people as pawns. Who is being manipulated in our society and by whom?”

Throwers

Throwing, along with running, boxing and wrestling, was part of the first ancient Greek Olympics. The discus and javelin were then the tools of choice.
The simple process of seeing how far you can throw a stone is a very natural and spontaneous activity.
The throwing of a spear or stone to attack and kill is also a natural response to our instinct to hunt for food and this was part of the original inspiration for the events of the Olympics,
We still vent our emotions through throwing using it as an outlet for our anger or just to let of steam and pent up energy.
In modern times the image of an activist or demonstrator throwing what ever comes to hand has become a photographic icon of our age. Captured by newspaper photographers the world over are attitudes and poses that evoke feelings of unrest and uncertainty.
With this series the Throwers I touch on notions of uncertainty for the future and ambiguity, is the figure throwing for sport or something more urgent that has to be resolved. 2012

Anonymous Figures

Working on the Ned Kelly ideas in Adelaide led me to start to abstract the human figure and think about other possibilities for the human form the Anonymous Figures I & II are a result of this. They still  have that sense of Dignity that I was trying to convey in the Ned Kelly work. 2012


Daggers Drawn

Daggers Drawn III and IV are the last part of a series of four pieces started in 2011.  In this work I touch on the hidden aggression found in society, which seems to be at a hiatus in recent times. Whether it is political differences at home or abroad, where phrases such as, “The Ides of March” and “The Knives Are Out” are used, or more poignantly the anger simmering under the surface of our communities, due to the widening gap in levels of prosperity.

Dialogues

A Dialogue is a conversation between two or more people a discussion directed towards exploration of a subject or resolution of a problem. Attitudes and body language are part of a conversation. In this series I explore how two figures can react by being in close proximity to each other creating tensions, affection as well as humour. The subtleties of the relationship are left to the viewer to explore and make further suggestions about their association. 2010-2011

Dignity

The theme of Dignity was conceived during a recent residency at the South Australian School of Art in Adelaide.

As a society we are often pushed and pull and battered by each other and demoralized by the world around us.

We can use dignity to keep a form of sanity in our lives but sometimes we forget to do this, to quote Bob Dylan “ someone was murdered on New Years Eve and Dignity was the first to leave” BD 5/95

David  Reekie, November 2009.

Something of a Relationship

This piece carries on the theme of relationships between people started with Different People and Envy of Others. With this piece the relationship is less confrontational and is more about the sympathy we can often find in a relationship no matter how tenuous! 2008

The Envy of Others
I am always on the look out for analogies and metaphors in my work, so based on The Verriales theme 2008 'Light, a source of Life', I decided to take the relationship between the sun and the moon as a starting point and to see where this led me.
I considered their relationship, the sun as the all powerful being, bringing light and life to our planet, the source of early religions and generally considered to be a good thing and in contrast the moon, always in the shadow of the sun, having dark connotations to do with madness and nefarious activities at the dead of night is seen as not such a good thing.
In fact they both have an important role in our lives. As such this relationship brought me to think about envy and how we desire the power and wealth of others, often in an irrational way. We all have our part to play in life and we can do little about our differences, as such envy can become a futile occupation which wastes and occupies much of our time.
David Reekie May 2008

Exchange of Information
This new series of work stems from an interest in our relationship with birds. Ten years ago I made a series of pieces called Love of Animals. In these sculptures I placed a figure of a man in a close and intimate position with an animal form, in fact he was holding the animal in his hand and their noses were almost touching. These works dealt, specifically, with the connection and affection that we have for our pets and how we relate to the natural world around us and perhaps with a wider theme of innocence.
I have now taken a more cynical stance in which this innocence is questioned. The bird has now become a symbol for unreliability and mistrust in our society suggestive of how information can be used against us.
These strange little figurines have a dark innocence of their own. Although they are mass produced and quickly hand painted in a spontaneous way, they have a quality and colour tone that lends itself well to this new body of work.
David Reekie, January 2008.

Dumb as a Dodo
A play on words of the well known phrase that points towards the unthinking stupidity that leads to war and its consequences.

Inconvenience of Life
The thick necked, jar headed character with an appendage like nose is indicative of mindless stupidity. His distain for this animal like creature sat upon his head is deeply cut into his features. He is frustrated by the inconvenience of the natural world and the environment as these are a barrier to his plans for future development of his world. David Reekie December 2007

Memories of the Desert
Memories are sometimes triggered by a single image; this image can then become symbolic of that time in your past. These symbols in turn can then be linked to other people's memories and can also be used to symbolise a shared point in society or in history or just a single remembered incident.

In this series of work I have used simple symbolic images to suggest links that we can all share. These images are equally personal to me but also point towards recent and historical remembrances or vanishing part of life that may soon become memories. David Reekie April 2006

Talking to Strangers, In this new series of work I discuss the beginnings of conflicts between individuals and groups of people. It could be as simple as the way we look at each other, as the eyes often betray our true feelings, or it could be the exchange of secrets, which can go on to damage and affect all of our lives. As in previous series I use a sense of humour coupled with dark irony to reveal my feelings about human nature. July 2005


DRUMMERS
These are part of the ongoing Robot series. Are these sentinels drumming a warning of things to come or are they drumming a tune to which we have to dance, they look to each other, unsure of what the future holds. Oct 2004
THE ROBOT SERIES When I was nine years old I remember going to the cinema to see the Forbidden Planet and one of the highlights of this film, for me, was Robby the Robot. It was 1956 and the future was a strange and sometimes frightening place. Although, Robby was a friendly Robot there were plenty of the mindlessly driven, aggressive Robots in other films. Although, this new work has elements from the fifties and a young boys fascination with films, toys and the future, it also poses questions about today and our ability to make our own decisions and not to follow mindlessly the thoughts of others.
Self Portraits / Buried in My Work
We all have our faults and failings, which we may or may not be aware of. In this series I felt it was a good opportunity to bring some of mine to the surface. The very technique of casting glass involves concealing and then revealing images and objects, somewhat like our personalities. In this series of castings I have put together several images into one complete piece of glass. This process, which I have developed, involves making different parts of the sculpture out of clay and wax and combining them into one object from which a mould is made. Finally the piece is cast in one kiln firing to create a detailed colourful glass sculpture which gives the illusion of being made up of many parts but is in fact one piece of glass.
David Reekie May 2003

My work continues to change and evolve and as it develops it tells its own story, a story to which I keep adding.
Recently I have been working on ideas revolving around the individual and how we try to hold onto our individuality despite social and commercial trends.
Working from plaster and rubber moulds I can produce several near identical wax figures, these, almost accidentally, touch on questions of genetics and cloning, which in turn adds to the themes I am dealing with. This way of working gives me the opportunity and pleasure to work on larger groups of glass images. These pieces deliver their own impact in terms of light, visual complexity and excitement which, when it comes down to it, is why I enjoy working with glass. .

David Reekie 2000

David Reekie, The White House, Ipswich Road, Dickleburgh, Norfolk, IP21 4NJ, U.K.
Tel Fax +44 (0) 1379 740037

david.reekie@virgin.net www.davidreekie.com