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Lowestoft Town Council help bring John Reay Art Collection Home

15 June 2022

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Lowestoft based Gallery, Another Angle Studio has realised a long-held ambition to recognize, perpetuate and celebrate John Reay’s (1947-2011) artistic legacy, reviving the legitimacy of his work as a valued contribution to the town and country’s artistic heritage.

This posthumous homecoming exhibition Reay of Light, depicts many scenes in the town at work and play.  This is the first exhibition of John’s work since he passed away in 2011. It has been curated to show a range of his artistic styles in a variety of media and pieces that demonstrate a strong connection to Lowestoft, its heritage and the surrounding area.

A6 Postcard At the Beach

Above: South Beach, Lowestoft - John Reay

Born in London in 1947, John Reay studied at Brighton and Norwich Schools of Art, from 1969 - 1973. He moved to Lowestoft Suffolk, UK, in 1974 to take up a teaching position, and live near the sea, which became a major inspiration for his art and became one of the most prolific artists in East Anglia.

John was a member of the Suffolk Group of Artists, and worked on location on the Suffolk and Norfolk Coast and was fascinated by the ever-changing nuances and subtleties of light and its interplay with figures and the landscape.

The human form was a major part of his work, and he used strong, sculptural figures contrasted with flat, East Anglian landscapes to accentuate their forms. His work varied from small, intricate landscapes painted on location, to large, bold compositions depicting groups of figures on the seashore, to single figures painted in his studio overlooking Lowestoft Docks.

Reay’s ability to capture "The subtleties and nuances of light in its ever-changing variety, which renews and reveals the landscape as one looks and records." gave his pictures a unique characteristic.

"Stimulated by the problems and contradictions of using these transient effects to reveal strong monumental forms" was a tension Reay appreciated in the works of Edward Hopper, (the American urban realist), "A constant influence on my art." and also in the work of the French painter Seurat. When in London, he would visit the National Gallery to study pointillist French painter Georges Seurat's masterpiece Une Baignade, Asnieres, remarking, "For me, one of our greatest national treasures". These influences are delightfully apparent in the larger works on show in the exhibition.

This exhibition of artwork by John Reay comes back to Lowestoft with thanks to Lowestoft Town Council who helped fund its transportation. Speaking about the exhibition, Cllr Alan Green, Mayor of Lowestoft, said “I am proud that Lowestoft Town Council were able to support bringing John Reay’s artwork back to the town for the people of Lowestoft to enjoy. As a Council, we aim to celebrate the heritage of the town and hope that many local people and visitors will be inspired by Reay’s unique depictions of Lowestoft and the surrounding area.”

Reay exhibited widely throughout his working life, in solo and mixed exhibitions in a diverse range of galleries, predominantly in London, East Anglia and the Home Counties, but as far afield as New York and St Petersburg. His work is held in public collections by Doncaster Museum.

The exhibition is expected to last for some 6 months until December 2022.  Open 10.30-4pm at Another Angle Studio, Unit 6, 10 Battery Green Road, Lowestoft NR32 4DL (info@anotheranglestudio.com – 07825 487049 (Maria McNevin – Curator)