FEATURE: Megan Rea – My Inspiration | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image of Take The Next Left And You’ll See It by Megan Rea

Emerging, young artist Megan Rea recently unveiled her new solo collection of work exploring abstract deconstructions of architecture. The exhibition is now at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle until Sunday 28th October. We found out more about what inspires both her and her work…

My practice focuses on creating abstract architectural spaces through the reinterpretation of our built environment.  Living in London is hugely beneficial for my work due to the plethora of diverse architectural styles. I am as intrigued by a newly built structure as I am by a demolition site as sometimes what is left is more visually arresting than what once stood. 

My current body of work has been inspired by places I came across travelling around South East Asia and Italy. ‘Take the next left and you’ll see it’ is based on Tan Dinh, a famous pink church in Ho Chi Minh City which is a dream backdrop for amateur photographers and glamorous tourists alike.  HCMC encouraged me to use a brighter colour palette and expand my horizons past blue, most buildings there are incredibly vibrant and playful as if the city has been sponsored by Dulux. For this piece the colours give more indication of what structure I am depicting rather than the painted shapes themselves.  I enjoy exploring the interplay between a building’s structure and its purpose, and how it becomes lost and rendered useless in its simplified form. I aim to isolate and glorify the make-up of shapes that surround us, revealing regularly used space that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. I am just as taken by recognisable designs for inspiration as I am with the banal. ‘She saw it on the way to the homeware department’  is inspired by the escalator at John Lewis in Edinburgh. 

I construct card maquettes of architectural points of interest which are used as tools to visually deconstruct their original design, and translate them into two dimensional painted forms. Grand Designs has been strong influence, especially the early episodes when the project was constructed as a cardboard model instead of on high tech computer programmes like they are now. I think there’s something so satisfying about building something by hand and its an important step to understand the shapes that make up the final design. 

Brutalism is my favourite architectural style and has been the biggest influence because the forms hold such visual impact despite being so simple.  To me, Brutalist designs look considerably more futuristic and imaginative than many of the other new builds in London which lack character. Some of my previous work has been inspired by the seemingly endless walkways and back passages of the Barbican where I still regularly visit. Creating work in Florence provided a nice contrast to the vast concrete mass and encouraged me to challenge myself with delicately patterned facades and gave an introduction to curves. The city’s ornate Gothic architecture influenced the altarpiece shaped surfaces that I worked on and have provided a platform that I intend to develop. 

Megan Rea’s exhibition is at The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle until Sunday 28th October.

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