After Stella Vine's mother died in 2003, her work took on a frenzy, resulting in a blood dripping portrait of Princess Diana foreseeing her own death and a poignant, yet bloody, painting of the young heroin addict Rachel Whitear. Both paintings caused a media storm in 2004. At that same time, the art collector Charles Saatchi discovered Vine and her paintings. He introduced her to a mass audience when he exhibited her work in New Blood at London's County Hall.
Now you can see her latest paintings at a new exhibition at Alnwick's Bailiffgate Museum and Gallery from 8 January until 24 February. The collection embodies her bold, signature style, showcased across a variety of medium. Not since her solo exhibition at the prestigious Modern Art Oxford, curated by Andrew Nairne in 2007, has such a large body of her work been displayed.
"We are delighted to show this extraordinary collection of art for the first time," says Bailiffgate volunteer Sheila Starks, "the paintings are so exuberant, they seem to leap off the walls." Stella’s artwork is not easy to categorise; it is at once childlike, edgy, and dark, yet weirdly uplifting, and surprisingly funny. When you look closely, it all fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. The exhibition will include drawings and paintings in a variety of sizes and mediums.
Art critic Waldemar Januszczak, meanwhile, feels her work has something he calls "an emotional pull", "a combination of empathy and cynicism that can be startling", and "an alarming sense of personal involvement, that yanks your head in Vine’s direction."
Despite her outsider status, collectors from around the globe support Stella’s work, including singer Florence Welch, Maia Norman of the Pearl Fashion label, and Unskilledworker, all of whom include her work in their personal collections.
Recently diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, Stella Vine, has been living quietly, travelling and continuing to put her unique perspective of the world today to paper. Discover more at stellavine.com.
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