David Reed

Born in 1946 in San Diego (USA), David Reed lives and works in New York (USA).
Originally from San Diego, David Reed moved to New York in 1966. He attended the New York Studio School where he was taught by professors Philip Guston and Milton Resnick. There, David Reed familiarized himself with the great tradition of Abstract Expressionism and with the minimalist and post-minimalist movements, and was a key participant in the emergence of conceptual art.
David Reed's oeuvre, developed over several decades, make of him one of the most influential abstract painters of his generation. Since the 1980s, the artist has examined ways to express the paradoxical duality that conjugates conceptual and emotional elements in his work. While the process of image-making is itself at the heart of his art, David Reed has also evolved toward a radically different practice: a type of "camouflage" painting, which has a quasi-photographic rendering. In his most recent canvases, the artist manipulates time as though to erase it. The clarity of the gesture, which once allowed the viewer's eye to dissect his entire process, disappears. David Reed begins with mark-making, then he reworks it, which goes against previous indications. It is as though the artist were trying to turn back time. There is, in fact, a sense that David Reed's latest works were created in an inverted timeline.
In several horizontal works, the structural order applied by the artist is coupled with intentional disorder, due to the numerous interruptions to the system. On the flat surface, the artist applies his chromatic palette in segmented divisions, marked by fine ribbons of contrasting colors. David Reed finds his inspiration in European painting, in particular Italian: he borrows the dramatic gesturalness from the Baroque, while also reflecting on the concept of cangiante or changing color. The latter is a painting mode dating back to the Italian Renaissance and it consists in the modeling of light using opposing hues, by working on the chromatic transitions and the contrast. His fluid, swirling brushstrokes reveal both the alacrity of his brushwork and the speed of color and light, in a similar way to a photograph or a film. His direct physical relationship with his painting, alongside his use of a chromatic palette that has evolved over the years, reflects the porous interplay between his work and our ever-changing world. For this very reason, David Reed continues to act as a major source of inspiration for each new generation of artists.
The exaggeratedly elongated format of David Reed's canvases also contributes to the singularity of his oeuvre. The artist is inspired by the CinemaScope format and paints as though he were working through the objective of a movie camera: zoom, cut, insert, areas that are in sharp focus and others that are blurred all punctuate his artistic work. With oil glacis, alkyd or acrylic paint, he filters the light that reflects on the surface of his paintings, so that it almost appears projected upon them. He experiments with a great variety of techniques of sanding and scratching the paint, in order to achieve infinitely subtle depths and transparencies.
David Reed has been the subject of numerous important solo exhibitions, including David Reed: Vice and Reflection - An Old Painting, New Paintings and Animations, Pérez Art Museum (Miami, USA, 2016), Two by Two: Mary Heilmann & David Reed, Museum für Gegenwart, Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin, Germany, 2015), The Mirror and The Pool, Kunstmuseum Krefeld, Museum Haus Lange (Krefeld, Germany, 2015), David Reed - Heart of Glass, Paintings and Drawings 1967-2012, Kunstmuseum Bonn (Bonn, Germany, 2012), David Reed: Lives of Paintings, Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College (Portland, USA, 2008), Leave Yourself Behind. Paintings and Special Projects 1967-2005, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University (Wichita, USA, 2005), David Reed - You look good in blue, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen (St. Gallen, Switzerland, 2001).
Recent group exhibitions include: From Gerhard Richter to Mary Heilmann - Abstract Art from Private Collections and the Museum’s Holdings, Kunst Museum (Winterthur, Switzerland, 2024), The Haniel Collection – Distinctly Unique, MKM Museum Küppersmühle (Duisbourg, Germany, 2024) To Bend the Ear of the Outer World : Conversations on contemporary abstract painting, curated by Gary Garrels, Gagosian (London, UK, 2023), Given Time (curated by Curated by Molly Sullivan), The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation (New York, USA, 2022), Earth: A Retrospective, El Ultimo Grito and the Per Amor a l’Art Collection, Bombas Gens Centre d’Art (Valencia, Spain, 2022) and Singing in Unison: Artists Need to Create On the Same Scale That Society Has the Capacity to Destroy curated by Phong H. Bui and Cal McKeever, The Scully Tomasko Foundation (New York, USA, 2022).
His works can be found in important international institutional collections, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, USA); Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, USA); Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris, France); FRAC-Auvergne (Clermont-Ferrand, France); Museum für Moderne Kunst (Frankfurt am Main, Germany); Kunstmuseum St. Gallen (St. Gallen, Switzerland); Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA); Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego, USA); National Gallery of Art (Washington, USA); Orange County Museum of Art (Costa Mesa, USA); Virginia Museum of Fine Art (Richmond, USA); Roswell Museum and Art Center (Roswell, USA); Sammlung Goetz (Munich, Germany); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, USA); Ulrich Museum of Art (Wichita, USA).