Publication June 2024
Pre-orders can be placed from March 2024
Ray Atkins (b.1937) is one of the least well known major painters of his generation. He studied at Bromley College of Art in Kent before gaining a post graduate place at the Slade despite having failed the National Diploma in Design in 1961. His first teaching post was at Reading University in 1965 where he lived and recorded in paint the huge upheavals that the town was undergoing, leading to a one person exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London in 1974.
A teaching post at Falmouth Art School in 1974 led to a thirty four year stay in Cornwall where he painted the extraordinary landscape of the china clay country around St Austell with its collossal pits and mounds of micae.The desolation left over by the demise of the tin mining industry was also a major theme, The more intimate subjects of children, gardens, family life and inevitably the sea were also part of the oevre. The nineties also saw a long series of works on the theme of dance.
To celebrate the uncelebrated was his dictum.
Peter Davies follows Atkins’ journey from the dark but creative London period to the high spots in the eighties with a retrospective at the Royal West of England Academy and with work selected for the John Moores in Liverpool, a room at a Serpentine summer Show, and representation in shows at the Hayward gallery.
The book also follows the tensions and problems arising from Atkins’ insistence on working direct from his subjects and places the artist’s career in the wider context of the twists and turns of events in the art world in the UK, Europe and beyond.
In addition, David Stoker gives a personal and touching account of his discovery of Atkins in France, leading to a growing friendship and a deep understanding and respect for the work.