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Art buddies: Norwich exhibition of works by Vic Reeves and Colin Self

PUBLISHED: 16:37 02 March 2018

I Think We Should All Just Be Friends featuring work by Vic Reeves and Colin Self runs at fairhurst gallery until March 31

I Think We Should All Just Be Friends featuring work by Vic Reeves and Colin Self runs at fairhurst gallery until March 31

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Best known as a comedian Jim Moir – aka Vic Reeves – is also an artist and his surreal, amusing and bizarre works feature in a new exhibition in Norwich, alongside those of his friend, Norfolk artist Colin Self.

Pirate & Parrott with anal flourish, oil on canvas, 2017 by Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves) Pirate & Parrott with anal flourish, oil on canvas, 2017 by Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves)

He is best known the surreal comedy of his alter ego Vic Reeves, but now the equally off-beat artworks of Jim Moir are on show at a Norwich gallery alongside those of Norfolk’s Colin Self.

As a comedian he needs little introduction, first coming to prominence in the early 1990s with his comedy partner Bob Mortimer on a string of shows, including Shooting Stars, The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer and House of Fools. He has also carved out a successful acting career under his real name, most recently appearing in Coronation Street.

However what is perhaps less well known is that he has also long been an artist in his own right. Jim (or Vic if you prefer) studied at Sir Cass College in Whitechapel in the mid-1980s before moving to New Cross in South London, where he started a performance art piece at The Goldsmiths Tavern called ‘Vic Reeves Big Night Out’.

His art has always run alongside his comedy and consists of painting, drawing, etching, photography and sculpture, drawing from a wide range of pop-culture sources.

Hot Dog with Ketchup and Mustard, pencil on paper bag on paper, 2012 by Colin Self Hot Dog with Ketchup and Mustard, pencil on paper bag on paper, 2012 by Colin Self

The result is hugely characterful work that is at once surreal, amusing, bizarre and occasionally tinged with a sinister edge.

He has said: “I think putting your imagination on canvas or a television screen is the same thing. If you’ve got an idea you have got to have an outlet for it. So if it’s painting, poetry, singing or acting it all comes out somewhere.”

No a range of his recent works feature in the exhibition I Think We Should All Just Be Friends at Fairhurst Gallery, alongside paintings and sculpture by Colin Self.

Having met many years ago, Colin and Jim have forged a close friendship, sharing a mutual devotion to painting and drawing.

Singing Face No.2, Pencil on paper + tea, 2017 by Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves) Singing Face No.2, Pencil on paper + tea, 2017 by Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves)

Gallery director Nina Fowler said: “The exhibition explores the friendship between these two inimitable artists and their relationship to the ‘art world’ at large. Their works are linked not only by their mutual rapport but also a whimsical, often mischievous approach to the creative process.”

Colin Self is a draughtsman, printmaker, sculptor and painter and has more than 70 works in the permanent collection of the Tate.

Born in Norwich in 1941, he was educated at Wymondham College and then studied art at Norwich Art School before heading to the Slade School of Fine Art.

Here he was encouraged by Frank Auerbach and David Hockney, with his early works addressing Cold War politics. Described by Richard Hamilton as ‘the best draughtsman in England since William Blake’, the exhibition will also house a couple Self’s most seminal works.

Leopardskin Nuclear Hot Dogs, sunglasses cases and mixed media, 2018 by Colin Self Leopardskin Nuclear Hot Dogs, sunglasses cases and mixed media, 2018 by Colin Self

Colin explains his friendship with Jim dates back to 2006. “Jim was asked by the Royal Academy if he would like to comment on TV about the Summer Exhibition works and to choose a favourite artist with which to do it. He chose me, [but] unfortunately I was exhausted at the time and had to rest so couldn’t partake,” he said.

“We corresponded and it emerged how appreciative we both were of the work of the great Norwich artist Mike Andrews. A year later he held an art exhibition in Ipswich, we were invited and it all clicked from there.”

The result is the joint exhibition in Norwich, which runs throughout March. “In a way this exhibition to me is that original connection happening now in a changed form,” said Colin. “We correspond and I wrote to Jim in November after being offered the show at the Fairhurst Gallery and thought of him, in Jim’s words, to “duo up”.

The show sees the duo explore friendship and how art crosses languages and cultures.

The Queen, acrylic on canvas, 2017 by Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves) The Queen, acrylic on canvas, 2017 by Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves)

“In a way art to me is the primal international language since I can gain so much from ancient Chinese art to Marcel Duchamp’s Dada yet can’t speak Chinese or French. But their art I do get,” explains Colin.

“But to analyse modern art there is perhaps so much mythical tragedy in it from Van Gogh to Picasso, Mark Rothko to Jackson Pollock, as few speak of the joys and friendships of life, and in this way has it narrowed and restricted itself?”

• I Think We Should All Just Be Friends runs at The Fairhurst Gallery, Bedford Street, Norwich, from March 1-31. For more information visit fairhurstgallery.co.uk

• More at vicreeves.tv on Jim Moir’s artworks

A Canary in a Cage, watercolour, indian ink + collage, 2002-8 by Colin Self A Canary in a Cage, watercolour, indian ink + collage, 2002-8 by Colin Self

Flowers in a Vase, collage on paper, 2008 by Colin Self Flowers in a Vase, collage on paper, 2008 by Colin Self

Dancing in the Moonlight (part of triptych) 2014 by Colin Self Dancing in the Moonlight (part of triptych) 2014 by Colin Self

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