Vine’s early work is acrylic painted onto board, ‘Lauren and Horse’ (2003) has smudged brush strokes and ‘Kurt Green Stripy top’ (2005) has broad brush strokes offering an informality which conveys these characters as familiar, almost family members. In a stellar show over 100 pieces of Vine’s work are on display, some are for sale others are on loan, offering a unique chance to catch this large collection in one visit.
The bold outlines of these impressionist portraits gives a two dimensional appearance of the subjects however Vine has mined far beyond the superficial to unearth human nature. The Chelsea Manager is described totally in ‘Jose and Leya’. Arguably less emotional qualities are reflected through Vine’s male subjects who do not appear free to reveal their inner lives. Pete Doherty’s portrait shows the eyes of a hunter, a hard stare fixes the viewer beyond the cigarette smoke screen. There is no innocence in the bespectacled eyes of another lead vocalist in ‘Chantelle and Preston’. Whilst Chantelle is smeared with gritty glitter on the cheekbone her face appears to be ageing the longer you look at it.
The Artist reveals much of her personal emotional journey in her choice of subjects. Even super heroes ‘Spidey’ and ‘Wonder’ are seen to exhibit flaws. The off-white walls of MAO cleverly do not over-exaggerate the pure exclamation of the work. This generates a safe place to consider the darker aspects of the perfect consumer life the media encourages us to aspire to. The undeniable beauty of Kate Moss’ bone structure is at once captured along with the ugliness of neurosis a life in the spotlight may possibly bring. The unreality of glamour is alluded to. A cartoon-like composition of a girl on the end of a phone is entitled ‘Lily breaks up with her boyfriend in Bulgari, Marc Jacobs and Still by JLO’ followed by ‘Lily overdoses in Marc Jacobs’. One work stands out amongst the bright shining pastels, the colours are painted with dirty grey brushes, and is the work that launched Vine’s career into orbit entitled ‘Hi Paul, can you come over…’ Blood is spattered around a Princess’ face and inexplicably offers the strongest connection with Vine herself. Each work tells a story and elicits a reaction. Viewers laugh out loud at ‘The Priory’ painted as a white holiday hotel with the caption ‘£600 per day excl VAT’. International visitors stand silently in front of the tranquil yet foreboding portrait ‘Diana floppy hat’. They contemplate an icon they revere. Stella captures those moments in life where you either laugh or cry. Find some of your own emotional journey in Stella’s.