“It is ambiguous whether it is pain or pleasure present in the works, whether the figures are martyrs or deities, or overwhelmed mortals.”
Rumours abounded ; that there would be a smoke machine and that we would drink from goon bags strapped to Riley. One was looking forward to both but neither happened and it may have been for the best. Regardless, everyone had a lovely time at the opening of Reid Bedlington’s The Virtuous Spray at CCAS Manuka last night. And he certainly turned on the cheese. You can see Reid’s work at ANCA Gallery, Belconnen Art Centre and Smith’s Bookshop but you can see it most at Manuka in an installation of paintings that are presented like icons leading up to an altar where you may make an offering of spit in a nice bowl. Reid describes the paintings as devotions to an ultimate state of bliss, be it religious, sexual or emotional. So there is something for everyone. Reid works in a between zone where works can be bad enough to be good or vice versa and he is getting better and better at this – because its something that is difficult to contrive. There is a romanesque gothicy touch in The Virtuous Spray, and Reid’s oeuvre generally, that recalls the sufferings of martyrs but its reworked with bright (gaudy) colours and cheap (gaudy) jewellery. The altar piece into which the audience must enter via a screen reminiscent of “fly strips” is a shrine of sordid excess where the visitor is treated to an orgy of dubious ecstasy. If saints, sex, penises and nuns are your thing you won’t want to miss The Virtuous Spray at CCAS Manuka until 22 November.