Born in Perth, Scotland, Guild was educated at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee, where he’s taught since the early ’90s. He also has a healthy record of shows in both New York and London to his credit over the years.
In one series, the Scottish artist sets single vegetables against dark grounds, painting with all the elegant sobriety of a 17th century Spanish still-life master. He renders a head of cauliflower, its florets beginning to brown, nestling in a lush collar of curling leaves. Another canvas, painted with equal care and conviction, features an impossible hybrid, half potato and half sweet potato, seamlessly conjoined.
In another group, Guild reprises portraits by Velázquez. The well-known images of King Philip IV’s children and court are instantly recognizable and persuasive, even though Guild has neatly apportioned each portrait across what appears to be a grid of paper labels — a homage turned minimalist mosaic.
Throughout, Guild pays clear tribute to the great Spanish painters of the past. At the same time — and often in the same works — he captures the wicked humor of another of his heroes, the contemporary comics artist R. Crumb. “I think these paintings are more about my personality than they are about themselves,” he says. “My personality is in my work. It’s obtuse, dark, funny and a little irreverent as well as” — and here he interrupts his thought with a burst of laughter — “quite reverential!”
Leah Ollman (June 14 2009, Los Angeles Times)
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