Breaking Convention with Bernie Reid at Edinburgh Printmakers

Bernie Reid, 'Untitled (Rug)', stencilled spraypaint on slip-resistant vinyl flooring, 2021. Photo Alan Dimmick
Bernie Reid, 'Untitled (Rug)', stencilled spraypaint on slip-resistant vinyl flooring, 2021. Photo Alan Dimmick

Ornamental Breakdown

Tue - Sun 10:00 - 18:00

From: 2 Feb 2023

To: 16 Mar 2023

Edinburgh Printmakers
Castle Mills
1 Dundee Street
Edinburgh & the Lothians

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Edinburgh Printmakers‘ current exhibition Ornamental Breakdown features thirteen newly-commissioned artworks from Edinburgh-based artist Bernie Reid.

The artist trained as an illustrator, graduating in 1997. He worked with a range of clients including Wallpaper magazine, Stella McCartney, the Telegraph newspaper, Habitat, Liberty London, Boxfresh and ID magazine. He then graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2010 with a BFA in Painting and Drawing.

Bernie Reid’s artwork has been exhibited in galleries worldwide, including MOMA New York, SFMOMA, 019 in Ghent, Serpentine Galleries in London, Garage Museum in Moscow and on the island of Stromboli for the Fiorucci Art Trust. Reid also works with ArtLink, a charity promoting mental health through art and creative practice. 

Bernie Reid Ornamental Breakdown at Edinburgh Printmakers photo by Alan Dimmick
Bernie Reid, Ornamental Breakdown at Edinburgh Printmakers, photo Alan Dimmick

Ornamental Breakdown showcases a mixture of new work, including mixed media paintings, a trompe l’oeil rug on vinyl (inspired by 20th-century designer Andre Arbus), stencil work on paper and slip-resistant vinyl flooring remnants. 

Bernie Reid has a longstanding interest in the materials and methods of graffiti art, as seen through his use of hand-cut stencils and spray paint. He employs subcultural practices of sampling and hacking in mixed-media and figurative works by introducing snippets of recognisable shapes and patterns. 

Bernie Reid Big Yellow Lips Newsprint Spraypaint on Newsprint Pasted to Wall 2023 photo by Alan Dimmick
Bernie Reid, ‘Big Yellow Lips Newsprint’, spraypaint on newsprint pasted to Wall (2023) photo Alan Dimmick

Many of the artworks have witty or descriptive titles. Two works, Girl with Tassels and Big Yellow Lips, are spray-painted onto newsprint and pasted to the wall. Both question art as an object and reference the impermanence of graffiti and street art.  

Reid’s style of figurative works feels inspired by Constructivism with a hint of Max Ernst. He is interested in re-using his stash of purpose-made stencils to create these new works, mostly abstracted figures. The use of spray paint on paper shows the artist’s technical skill to create subtle shading and smooth texture.

Bernie Reid Figure with Sports Sock Spraypaint on slip resistant vinyl flooring 2023 photo by Alan Dimmick
Bernie Reid, ‘Figure with Sports Sock’, spray paint on slip resistant vinyl flooring (2023) photo by Alan Dimmick

On closer inspection, you can see faces and limbs emerge, as seen in Blue Moon. You can also find wee gems of modern cultural motifs in Figure with Sports Sock, for example, using recognisable shapes and patterns from contemporary life.

Bernie Reid The Red Puffer Spray Paint on Slip Resistant Vinyl Flooring 2023 photo by Alan Dimmick
Bernie Reid, ‘The Red Puffer’, spray paint on slip resistant vinyl flooring (2023) photo Alan Dimmick

In some works, such as The Red Puffer, the ‘canvas’ is slip-resistant vinyl flooring. The patterned texture of the vinyl is an important element in the aesthetic of the work and not merely serving as a reclaimed/recycled surface. 

Bernie Reid Skeleton 2 Oil Paint on Paper 2017 Photo by Alan Dimmick
Bernie Reid, ‘Skeleton 2’, oil paint on paper (2017) photo Alan Dimmick

He complements this playfulness of texture with artworks in mixed media and traditional oil paints on paper to create a glossy poster effect as with Skeleton 2 and Lacoste in the Park. In Velvet Pose, the spray paint evokes a velvet-like matt texture on paper. 

Bernie Reid Velvet Pose Spraypaint on Paper 2023 Photo by Alan Dimmick
Bernie Reid, ‘Velvet Pose’, spray paint on paper (2023) photo Alan Dimmick

This is an exhibition worth seeing in person to get up close and experience how the textures of the materials complement each other. The artworks are available to buy online or in person. For sales enquiries contact Purchases can be made using the Own Art scheme, which allows you to split the cost between ten interest-free instalments.

With grateful thanks to Julie Boyne for this review.

Edinburgh Printmakers has a page dedicated to Reid’s work with more examples from the exhibition.

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