In the Company of Monsters, Reading Museum

I was in town with some time to kill so I thought that I would visit the new exhibition at the Reading Museum – In the Company of Monsters.

Reading Museum is a lovely place both inside and out. Housed within the Waterhouse designed Town Hall the museum has an interesting and diverse collection of local items such as finds from nearby Silchester and Huntley and Palmer biscuit tins. There’s also a floor that contains a facsimile of the Bayeux Tapestry and a small gallery. It was the latter I was headed to today.

The gallery holds regular exhibitions – I’d been to a contemporary art one earlier in the year but this looked like it might be particularly good. Collected together here were the works from three artists whose work depicted classical “monsters” such as cyclops, Minotaurs and Pan with his pipes. This was in the form of paintings, sculptures and, interestingly, mixed media which included some prints of AI generated images.

The pictures by artist Paul Reid were particularly impressive and seemed very realistic in that I could imagine these monsters living amongst us as he’d depicted. I was very drawn to the cyclops (shown on the show guide below) and found that you can buy a digital copy (NFT) but I can’t get my head around buying something that seems so easily duplicated. Others clearly feel differently as sales of $24k have been made.

The sculptures were also good but I’m less drawn to them than I am paintings.

Not a huge exhibition but a fascinating one nevertheless. It’s on until February 2024 if you’re in Reading.

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