July 18, 2007

Critics weigh in on Stella Vine's show at Modern Art Oxford

In the Telegraph, Richard Dorment reports a change of heart about Stella Vine's paintings: "Imagine my amazement to discover that there is something to Vine's work after all. True, in terms of the way she actually applies paint to canvas, she isn't a beautiful or exciting artist in the way that, say, Elizabeth Peyton or Cecily Brown can be. But damn it, there's a vitality and truth in her work that can't be faked, and when she's on form she can be coruscatingly funny. She only has one subject, our culture of celebrity and victim-hood, but when she paints expressionistic portraits of the people who clog our brain waves with accounts of their drink/drugs/sex/weight/marriage/divorce/suicide hell, she's bang on the money." Read more.

Maev Kennedy in The Guardian: "Stella Vine may not be nervous, but the gallery director, Andrew Nairne, is petrified. His wife keeps patting him reassuringly on the shoulder, and promising people will remember that he has a track record of admired exhibitions. He is surely right that the images - of supermodel Lily Cole bejewelled in a bath seeping blood, of Kate Moss hung beside a giant portrait of Pete Doherty, and of Courtney Love peeling her knickers off in a London cab - will lure in people who might never normally set foot in his gallery." Read more.

Rachel Campbell-Johnston in The Times believes that "Stella Vine's paintings arise from the slightly spooky ambition of a former method actress who has tried to put herself into her character’s persona, to actually become the person she painted....The babydoll palette of Vine’s pictures turns acid. The colours are souring. The mascara runs with tears. The dreams are curdling into the ghastly self-confessional parodies of the reality. The highly polished Vogue aesthetic is turning into the trashy Heat snap. We can’t dismiss these paintings as a mere racket – not in a world in which the racket has become the real thing." Read more.

Lynn Barber interviews Stella Vine in The Observer: “Stella Vine is 38, but still very 'new' as a painter. She only started seven years ago when she took her son Jamie to art classes at Hampstead School of Art and got hooked. At the time she was a stripper and before that an actress. But in 2004 Charles Saatchi saw one of her paintings of Princess Diana ('Hi Paul can you come over, I'm really frightened') in a small East End gallery, bought it for £600, and made it the centrepiece of his New Blood show at County Hall. Critics rubbished it but it didn't matter - where Saatchi goes, collectors follow. She only met him for two minutes but he changed her life.” Read more.

Guardian art blogger Paul Moody says, loathe her or love her, everyone's talking about Stella Vine. Read more Vine gossip.

“Stella Vine: Paintings” Modern Art Oxford,17 July to 23 September