Kettle's Yard is presenting the first public gallery exhibition in this country of the paintings, drawings and reliefs of Alan Reynolds. It marks the 50th anniversary of him leaving the Royal College of Art and spans an even longer period. On the face of it Alan Reynolds’ career is of two unequal halves, the landscape painter of the 1950s, rooted and cherished in England, and the constructive artist of the last thirty and more years inspired by and fêted in Europe.
A quest for structure and equilibrium has always been at the heart of Reynolds' work. His engagement with landscape, from his native Suffolk to the hop gardens and orchards of his adoptive Kent, was inspired in part by Constable and Samuel Palmer but then by Paul Klee and increasingly by Mondrian. Eventually, depiction was firmly set aside in favour of the abstract and concrete.
This exhibition traces the progress of Alan Reynolds' work from the early landscapes, through stages of abstraction, to the tonal modular drawings and constructed white reliefs of the last thirty years. In these not only the times of day and season, but curves and colour give way to the interplay of horizontal and vertical - form and space - daylight and shadow - the rational and the intuitive. Apparently geometric, they derive from a simple fascination with number - '4 - 5 - 8 - I can get quite high on that!'
Born in 1926 in Newmarket, Alan Reynolds saw front line infantry service in the war. Posted to Hanover after the war he was faced with the impact of German expressionist and constructive art while other British artists were looking only to France. He quickly rose to fame and was described by Bryan Robertson as 'the golden boy of post neo-romanticism in England.' His practice as an artist has been coupled with a distinguished teaching career at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and St Martin's.
Organised by Kettle's Yard, the exhibition will be accompanied by a 48 page illustrated catalogue with an introduction by Michael Harrison and writings by the artist and Suzanne Pfleger.
The Village Fair, 1952