Reginald Weston
late works 1963 - 1967

Next year will mark the fortieth anniversary of the passing of Reginald Weston at fifty-eight years of age. When artists leave us prematurely we can only speculate on what might have been had they lived longer. What direction might the work have taken formally? Were the most fertile periods already passed, or was the best yet to come?
'Reggie,' as he was known, had a distinctive style from the outset of his career. The works of the early 1950's showed school of Paris influences (close friends included Stanley William Hayter, Alberto Giacometti and Anthony Quinn) and were primarily abstract in nature. Later, this gave way to a more figurative tendency, semi abstract but more lyrical than realist, and reminiscent of Paul Klee. The 'heads' and flowers of the mature style late works are noted for their harmony, plasticity and use of colour.
Dr. Haim Gamzu, Curator at the museum in Tel-Aviv, writing on Weston's work in the 1960's said, ?What he considers significant is to sound an echo of the tones pervading his inner world, convey a reflection of his imaginative landscapes, depict in graphic colour the epitome of a figure, or a bird, or a kerosene lamp that resembles a bird ? in a wonderful assemblage of charcoal lines and rich colourful strokes. In Weston's work there are no clear cut boundaries between the animate and the inanimate, and the objects depicted are often only hinted at, a mere suggestion which serves to identify the subject.?
I can imagine myself writing similar words to describe aspects of the work of Denise Green, John Virtue or indeed the work of his co-exhibitor in this exhibition, Guy Warren. However Reggie had an intense dislike of categories and classification. His studio, like the man himself, was unadorned of anything beyond his work, some light and an old fashioned stove for heat. Although not wealthy, his wife Miriam had some money left over from a family fortune decimated in the war and handled all things financial. Weston never concerned himself with money beyond the most utilitarian need, leaving him free to concentrate on his painting without any thought or need for compromise. The family had to live simply but necessities were met and the children were, in son Michael's words, ?well brought up, educated and mannered? although somewhat ?ill prepared for life.?
Further rejecting traditional labels, Reggie felt that a painter was a painter and the language of paint has no nationality. Although proud of his English birthright he did not want to be considered an 'English' painter living in Paris, never wanted to be called a 'Jewish' painter despite his close ties to Israel. He clearly had a stubborn streak and did not believe that people should have to pay to see his paintings, nor should he have to pay to see theirs. Weston would wait outside, smoking, during family visits to museums if an entry charge were required. He didn't like too much personal information being divulged ? preferring to let his art speak for itself. He disliked talk of 'influences' but was a great defender of Turner and Constable, and of course liked the classics such as Cezanne and the Impressionists. He believed in modern art - but was at pains to admit it - but was against new American art, dismissing the likes of artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and others who showed in Paris during the 60?s.
As I write, a photo of the artist at his easel is propped up beside me. While engrossed at the canvas in front of him I nonetheless get the feeling Reggie is looking back through time at me and saying, ?I have waited a long time for this exhibition, so pay attention to what you are doing on my behalf.? Indeed, apart from a couple of posthumous exhibitions of selected works organised by his wife in the years immediately following his death, his art has not been seen for nearly forty years. The entire oeuvre of nearly one thousand works was carefully boxed up for the most part in 1967 and the crates not even opened until recently.
The late works we have chosen for this inaugural exhibition of the work of Reggie Weston are a first taste of what we hope to be an ongoing representation, or rather unveiling, of a remarkable body of work. Further exhibitions are planned for Annandale, Osborne Samuel Gallery in London and a yet to be named venue in Israel - he was the first to exhibit purely abstract work there in 1939. Through his extensive legacy, Reginald Weston has left us to mine the riches inherent in his work and better understand the processes of the creative spirit.
Finally, I would like to thank the painter Michael Weston, veteran of four solo shows at Annandale Galleries, for his patience and knowledge of his father and the work, as well as Pierre Grunspan of Paris for helping to facilitate this exhibition.
? Bill Gregory, Sydney July 2006


Reginald Weston
late works 1963 - 1967
Next year will mark the fortieth anniversary of the passing of Reginald Weston at fifty-eight years of age. When artists leave us prematurely we can only speculate on what might have been had they lived longer.
23 Aug - 23 Sept 2006

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Please note, works in previous exhibitions may no longer be available, please visit our stockroom for available works