A life's work on show in exhibition

FIFTY YEARS: Spring Creek artist JK Reed is exhibiting works that represent his life’s work as an artist.
FIFTY YEARS: Spring Creek artist JK Reed is exhibiting works that represent his life’s work as an artist.

Fifty years' work by Spring Creek artist JF Reed can be examined in his new exhibition ARtExhibition JK Reed, A Crossection.

It opens in Blenheim on Saturday and will include works Reed did as a 16-year-old secondary school pupil in Dunedin, others as a fine arts student in Christchurch, and the oils and watercolours created in Marlborough.

Influences are many and web browsers can search for his site (artworks.co.nz) to see the abstract, figurative and cubism paintings he does.

Captions on them indicate their inspiration: Wellington, Western France, Seattle, Normandy, Waikawa Bay . . .

Marlborough is a good base, Reed says, describing the small community here as a friendly, supportive one. "But I spent three months in New York and I loved that!"

He visited many galleries in the Big Apple, studying first hand the works of artists like Robert Rauchenberg, Andy Warhol and Jesper Johns. "All artists have to see how everyone else paints. When you see a painting first hand, it shows you things you will never see in books," says Reed, a retired teacher.

A painting reproduced in a book will never show that the artist had sketched it first, he says.

He will let exhibition viewers glimpse how his work is created.

As well as showing his different styles - realist, cubist, atmospheric and figurative - some initial sketches will be hung, too.

"Thinking processes" he calls them, lines drawn that help him decide how a new work will look. Words might be written, too, giving a direction of the sun, colours to use, areas to put into recess, provide texture to, or that need an architectural feature.

Born in England, Reed migrated to New Zealand with his parents in 1954. In 1969 he moved to Marlborough to start a secondary school teaching degree.

Much of it was spent at Marlborough Boys' College and when he retired in 2011 he was head of its arts department.

"I feel like I have sat school certificate hundreds of times - and sixth-form certificate art and bursary art," he says.

His own days studying art at Canterbury University were among the best of his life, he adds.

Students bounced ideas off each other and tutors helped them gather more by exposing them to a broad range of artists, influences, styles and techniques.

ARtExhibition JK Reed, A Crossection will be shown at the Yealands Estate Marlborough Gallery in Blenheim from July 5 to July 20.

The Marlborough Express