Barry Reigate painting and sculptures at the Saatchi Gallery


Real Special Very Painting 2009

“I’m interested in cartoon imagery because I was taught how to draw by my father. When visiting him at Wandsworth Prison, my father would try to entertain me through drawing popular imagery such as King Kong, or Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. That would be his way of communicating to me; being a kind of 70s macho man, he found it difficult to express his feelings other than through anger or violence. So there is this dsysfunction already in my circuit, in relation to my artistic introduction, drawing associated with punishment and freedom. Cartoon’s main audience is children. Art, a luxury commodity, could be seen as some kind of adult toy. Something to depart from the ‘real’ world, into one of escape and play where meaning and reason slips into a different social context. In the real world you’re not allowed to be naughtly, but in a cartoon world you can. You can throw knives, fall from buildings, and attempt murder.”

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory 2008

Triumph In The Face Of Adversity 2008

I’m a Leader not a Follower 2008

Barry Reigate’s sculptures and paintings enshrine the most basic instincts of desire and horror. The lamps are ostentatious pastiches of bad taste, pierced through (literally) with the pretentiousness of minimalist design. The club-footed, rude-fingered, pudenda-lipped, tar-baby bunny is sodomised through the core and poses as a deprived icon of astounding beauty and fascination. In wholeheartedly embracing the abject, Reigate confronts and seduces the viewer with his own ethical hang-ups;

“I like the simultaneous reference to cartoons and modern art over the last century. Modernism seemed to want to serve some kind of purpose, and I wanted to play with something that deals with both function and stupidity. I became quite interested in Barry Flanagan’s hares; they were everywhere, breeding like rabbits. Barry went pop, so to say, commercialised; so there was this kind of entropy of his or others’ modernist ideals. The figures are made in jesmonite which is used in film sets and models. I like the association between classical plaster sculpture and popular culture. I let the material just drip, applied it thickly and then let gravity take its course, so there is this historical reference to modernist painting. The black gloss paint makes the figure look as though thry have just been tarred, like a kind of punishment for pop. The wooden pallet-plinths almost look like Dracula’s coffin: dead art, zombie pop! The extension cord becomes a kind of life support for them to work: an umbilical cord attached to our own dependent reality, electricity.”


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