David Reed - Untitled, 1999 (detail)

David Reed

United States 1946

Installation, Video Art, Painting


David Reed
David Reed
United States
December 31, 2014

David Reed is an abstract painter who works on large canvases. When he started out as a painter he fell in love with the strong and significant trails his brushes were leaving, and that became his signature move. While he was a student he was eager to learn and to explore, and his desire to imprint a meaning into the painting stayed with him to the present days. His palette is bright, his brushstrokes are visible and the dimensions of the canvases are directly inferencing the artist himself. When there is a vertical picture there is a shadow of its creator in front of it. At the beginning of his career in the 60s, the main subject was the bare process of creation, how a painting was made and how the method looked like. They looked like someone was taking a photo of the painting process and merged them into a larger piece. That reminded him of filmmaking and that is how these three art directions lead to the original abstract painting he is now famous for doing.

Reed was making vertical abstractions early in his career

David Reed - Vertical, From left to right - #639, 2003 to 2013, #606, 2009 to 2011, #608, 2009 to 2011, #574, 2005 to 2007, #559, 2006 to 2007, #637, 2003 to 2013
David Reed – Vertical Paintings, From left to right – #639, 2003 to 2013, #606, 2009 to 2011, #608, 2009 to 2011, #574, 2005 to 2007, #559, 2006 to 2007, #637, 2003 to 2013

Ideas are Lurking on the Surface of the Paint

David was born and grew up in California where he attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He studied at Reed College in Portland, Oregon and earned his BA in 1986. When he moved to New York he spent a lot of time at the New York Studio School, where he was not registered as an official student, but he attended many seminars with the famous artists from that time. Although his contemporaries were abandoning painting, he knew that painting was the only thing he wanted to do and practice. Everything had to have a concept, a meaning or a hidden idea, and Reed discovered that his idea was lying in the structure and surface of the painting. His works look like they were cut into pieces and reassembled together insinuating the video films. Bright technicolor palette refers to computer screens and digital art. His personal vision is that the image should not imitate reality, it should show the artist’s vision. In the digital age, the accent is on reproduction, whereas for Reed the emphasis is in creation.

Reed’s pieces look like they were cut into pieces and reassembled together insinuating the video films

american search life life life gallery american gallery american search gallery studio studio studio David Reed - Horizontal, #633, 2012 to 2013 (top), #635, 2000 to 2011 (middle), #635, 2000 to 2011 (bottom)
David Reed – Horizontal Paintings, #633, 2012 to 2013 (top), #635, 2000 to 2011 (middle), #635 (detail), 2000 to 2011 (bottom)

High and Intellectual Times

Reed was the adviser for the exhibition High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967-1975 and many artists from that collection shared the same history as he did. They all came from smaller towns to New York, the artistic mecca at that time, to explore and excel as artists. Embracing the Abstract Expressionism was freeing and relieving because abstraction meant freedom and equality. Everyone was welcome, and everyone was encouraged to share their vision. With Reed, like many other artists, it was important to share personal philosophy and beliefs, and that is where he found his true calling. Being an artist in New York at that time was everything but easy, since making intellectual abstract art did not earn a lot of money, there were days where he was squatting and living in abandoned buildings. Using color and light to express himself he found a sense of freedom in his work. He paints to show who he is.

The artist makes unconventional work in order to incude unconventional response

Paintings as Film Stars

Reed’s paintings act as a live entity where they provide a unique projection of the live person. His earlier works were vertical, but his more recent items are horizontal. The change of the form originated from the evolution of the idea. Now, the paintings represent the shadow of the human being. What was an artist in person before, now is a digital film or a ghost in the media body. Our digital screens, computers and smartphones are staring at us in landscape mode, and the paintings insinuate how our spirit must feel like when being neglected like that. There is a special characteristic of his work, found in the free form of abstraction, where he likes to pretend his works are live entities. He made a Vertigo project where he put scans of two of his paintings as characters in Hitchcock’s film. The resemblance is uncanny because of his specific brushstrokes that make his art look like it’s been taken from a video film. He named this video installation Two Bedrooms in San Francisco inspired by stories of people who bought his artwork and hung it in their bedrooms.

Reed made a video installation called Two Bedrooms in San Francisco, inspired by Hitchcock’s Vertigo

David Reed - Two Bedrooms in San Francisco, Judy's Room, 1994, photo credits Kunstverein Hannover
David Reed – Two Bedrooms in San Francisco, Judy’s Room, 1994, photo credits Kunstverein Hannover

Sentiment of the Color

The surface of his composition was directly correlating to the surface of the film. There was no information lost when he made a switch. His idea for this project was that paintings can live, lead lives of their own because they are the epitome of an artist’s freedom. Free as they are, the pictures can sometimes narrate a story of their own. Reed’s play with color has the ambition to humanize the contemporary scene. Unlike before, where the inspiration was being chased outdoors, in the physical world, in the modern age, we are being surrounded by artificial and synthetic elements. It is difficult to relate to the neon plastic and unnatural items and their bright colors because they do not resemble anything people are used having an emotion towards. That is why Reed is using his art to share a political and anthropological vision of how we deal with our emotions and where we find our sentimental soul when we chase it aways with our computer screen and digital reality.

David Reed lives and works in New York.

Featured image: David Reed – Untitled, 1999 (detail). 21 67/100 × 29 67/100 in. 55 × 75.4 cm. Photo courtesy Kavi Gupta Gallery
All images used for illustrative purpose only © David Reed

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2015David Reed - The Mirror And The PoolMuseen Haus Lange - Haus Esters, KrefeldSolo
2015Nice to See You! 160 Works from the CollectionKunstmuseum Liechtenstein, VaduzGroup
2015Now-Ism: Abstraction TodayPizzuti Collection, Columbus, OHGroup
2014Teach Us To Outgrow Our MadnessGalerie Thomas Schulte, BerlinGroup
201412 Painters: The Studio School, 1974 2014Steven Kasher Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2014Eight Books two weeksT.a.t new talents Cologne, CologneGroup
2014Invitational Exhibition of Visual ArtsThe American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City, NYGroup
2014Speaking Through Paint: Hans Hofmann’s Legacy TodayLori Bookstein Fine Art, New York City, NYGroup
2014Art ProtectsYvon Lambert, ParisGroup
2013David Reed - Recent PaintingsHäusler Contemporary, ZurichSolo
2013American Abstract Artists - A SelectionKent State School of Art Gallery, Kent, OhioGroup
2013Hybride Malerei - curated by_vienna 2013: Why Painting Now?MAM Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art, ViennaGroup
2013Misdirect MoviesStandpoint Gallery, LondonGroup
2013Sweet HomeHäusler Contemporary, MunichGroup
2013Pour (2013)Asya Geisberg Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013PourLesley Heller Workspace, New York City, NYGroup
2013Temperamente auf Papier IIHäusler Contemporary, ZurichGroup
2013My kind of DisneylandMärkisches Museum Witten, WittenGroup
2013PAINTBetty Cuningham Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2012Heart Of GlassKunstmuseum Bonn, BonnSolo
2012Movement - Magazin4Bregenzer Kunstverein, BregenzGroup
2012Conceptual Abstraction - Leubsdorf Art GalleryHunter College, New York City, NYGroup
2012Conspiracies of Illusion: Projections of Time & SpaceMcMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, ONGroup
2012Heat WavesPeter Blum Gallery - Chelsea, New York City, NYGroup
2012Inside OutsidersThe Fireplace Project, East Hampton, NYGroup
2012The Slide ShowFRAC - Auvergne, Clermont FerrandGroup
2012American Abstract Artists International: 75th Anniversary Paris CONCRET, ParisGroup
2012The Gallery CollectionGalerie bob van orsouw, ZurichGroup
2012New York PaintingHäusler Contemporary, MunichGroup
2012The Indiscipline of PaintingMead Gallery - Warwick Arts Centre, CoventryGroup
2011Alles Gerade lügtRahn Contemporary , ZurichGroup
2011The Indiscipline of Painting: International abstraction from the 1960s to nowTate St. Ives, St. Ives, CornwallGroup
2011Contemporary Selections: Aligning AbstractionNational Academy Museum, New York City, NYGroup
2011LookGalerie Xippas Switzerland, GenevaGroup
2011Dc Open 2011Forum für Fotografie, CologneGroup
2011Itsy-bitsy spiderGalerie Anke Schmidt , CologneGroup
2011American Abstract Artists 75th AnniversaryO.K. Harris Works of Art, New York City, NYGroup
2011Living for Art - Gifts fromThe Dorothy and Herbert Vogel CollectionPhoenix Art Museum,Phoenix, AZGroup
2011William Eggleston and David ReedPeter Lund, OsloGroup
2011Exquisitely Modern: 50 Works from Herbert and Dorothy VogelHonolulu Academy of Arts,Honolulu, HIGroup
2010David Reed - Works on paperPeter Blum Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2010In Side OutSusan Inglett Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2010Painting, Process and Expansion Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig - MUMOK , ViennaGroup
2010BABELFRAC - Auvergne, Clermont FerrandGroup
2010Move on upGalerie Anke Schmidt , CologneGroup
2010PALM PAINTINGSBuchmann Galerie, BerlinGroup
2009David Reed - Recent PaintingsHäusler Contemporary, MunichSolo
2009Rewind, Fast ForwardNeue Galerie Graz - Universalmuseum Joanneum, GrazGroup
2008Sehnsucht (Aspiration)Light & Sie, Dallas, TXGroup
2008There is Desire left (Knock, Knock)Museum Wiesbaden, WiesbadenGroup
2008Las Vegas Collects ContemporaryLas Vegas Art Museum - LVAM, Las Vegas, NVGroup
2008Klaus Merkel & David ReedGalerie Thomas Flor, DusseldorfGroup
2008Abstrakt abstractMMKK - Museum Moderner Kunst Kärnten, KlagenfurtGroup
2008There is Desire Left (Knock, Knock)Kunstmuseum Bern, BernGroup
2008Rochelle Feinstein and David ReedThe Suburban, Oak Park, ILGroup
2007Bilingual - Glass Curtain GalleryColumbia College Chicago, Chicago, ILGroup
2007Lust for Life. Die Sammlung RickeKunstmuseum Liechtenstein, VaduzGroup
2007Brave Lonesome CowboyKunstmuseum St.Gallen, St. GallenGroup
2007Brave Lonesome Heroes; Topoi des Westerns in der GegenwartskunstGalerien der Stadt Esslingen, EsslingenGroup
2007Das Kapital, erster Teil - Bluechips & MasterpiecesMuseum für Moderne Kunst (MMK),FrankfurtGroup
2007Not For SaleMoMA PS1, New York City, NYGroup
2006David Reed: Leave Yourself Behind Paintings 1967-2005The Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Los Angeles, CASolo
2006Strip - Bilder in Folge: strip - images in lineGalerie Anita Beckers, FrankfurtGroup
2006TransformationKunstmuseum Liechtenstein, VaduzGroup
2006TransformationKunstmuseum Liechtenstein, VaduzGroup
2006When Artists Say We Artists Space, New York City, NYGroup
2006Minimal IllusionsVilla Merkel - Galerien der Stadt Esslingen, EsslingenGroup
2006POPulenceSoutheastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Winston-Salem, NCGroup
2005David Reed - New PaintingsGalerie bob van orsouw, ZurichSolo
2005David Reed - Leave Yourself Behind: Paintings and Special Projects 1967-2005Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KSSolo
2005Step into LiquidBen Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2005The early ShowWhite Columns, New York City, NYGroup
2005Le Printemps de septembreFRAC Midi-Pyrénées, ToulouseGroup
2005POPulenceMOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Cleveland, OHGroup
2005Post and After - Contemporary Art from the Brandeis CollectionThe Rose Art Museum,Waltham, MAGroup
2005DreamsGalerie Buchmann, CologneGroup
2005Loveparade 1Häusler Contemporary, MunichGroup
2005Very Early PicturesArcadia University Art Gallery , Glenside, PAGroup
2005POPulenceBlaffer Art Museum - at the University of Houston, Houston, TXGroup
2005100 Artists See God Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Virginia Beach, VAGroup
2005Very Early Pictures The Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2005What’s New Pussycat?Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), FrankfurtGroup
2005American Academy Invitational Exhibition of Painting & SculptureThe American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City, NYGroup
2005Yankee Love and Latin DoodleGalerie Thomas Schulte, BerlinGroup
2005Sweet TemptationsKunstmuseum St.Gallen, St. GallenGroup
2005Illusion - IrritationWaßermann Galerie, MunichGroup
2005EspecialGalerie Anke Schmidt , CologneGroup
2004David Reed - MalereiNeues Museum - Staatliches Museum für Kunst und Design in Nürnberg, NurembergSolo
2004100 Artists See GodICA - Institute of Contemporary Arts London, LondonGroup
2004Gesture SuggestionVOUS ETES ICI, AmsterdamGroup
2004Trespassing - Houses X ArtistsPalm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CAGroup
2004Still mapping the moonKunstmuseum Bonn, BonnGroup
2004Paintings That Paint ThemselvesKresge Art Museum, Lansing, MIGroup
2004Me Myself IKunstmuseum St.Gallen, St. GallenGroup
2004100 Artists See GodThe Contemporary Jewish Museum San Francisco, San Francisco, CAGroup
2004TRESPASSING: Houses x ArtistsBlaffer Art Museum - at the University of Houston, Houston, TXGroup
2003Greetings From New York: A Painting ShowGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, SalzburgGroup
2003On - inaugural showGalerie Xippas Greece, AthensGroup
2003Trespassing - Houses X ArtistsUniversity of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, FLGroup
2003Imagine - Selections from the permanent collectionMuseum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA), Miami, FLGroup
2003New Abstract PaintingMuseum Morsbroich, LeverkusenGroup
2003Trespassing: Houses X Artists Part 2MAK Center for Art and Architecture, West Hollywood, CAGroup
2003IntricacyICA - Institute of Contemporary Art - University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2002David Reed - You look good in blueKunstverein Hannover, HannoverSolo
2002Time Space MotionGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, SalzburgGroup
2002Coleccionismos ContemporáneosMADC Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San JoséGroup
2002Another World; Zwölf BettgeschichtenKunstmuseum Luzern, LucerneGroup
2002Raum für Malerei - The Painting RoomKaiser Wilhelm Museum, KrefeldGroup
2002Time frameBlanton Museum of Art, Austin, TXGroup
2001Ornament und AbstraktionFondation Beyeler, RiehenGroup
2001MOCA - Selections from the Permanent CollectionMuseum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA), Miami, FLGroup
2001VertigoMagazin4 - Bregenzer Kunstverein, BregenzGroup
2001HybridsInternational Contemporary Painting - Tate Liverpool, LiverpoolGroup
2001NOTORIOUS: Alfred Hitchcock and Contemporary ArtTokyo Opera City Art Gallery, TokyoGroup
2000Media Metaphor - The 46th Biennial ExhibitionThe Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DCGroup
2000Multiple ChoiceMuseum of Contemporary Art Skopje, SkopjeGroup
2000C (sea)Lokaal 01 Breda, BredaGroup
1999David Reed. Paintings, Motion PicturesThe Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MASolo
1999David Reed - Solo ShowGalerie Xippas France, ParisSolo
1999David Reed—PaintingGalleries at Moore College of Art & Design,Philadelphia, PASolo
1999David Reed paintings : motion picturesMoMA PS1, New York City, NYSolo
1999David Reed paintings : motion picturesWexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OHSolo
1999Super-abstr-actionThe Box Associati, TurinGroup
1999Moving Images Film-Reflexion in der KunstGalerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst - GfZK, LeipzigGroup
1999Postmark - An Abstract Effect Site Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NMGroup
1999Rolf Ricke - Special OfferKasseler Kunstverein, KasselGroup
1998David Reed paintings : motion picturesMuseum of Contemporary Art San Diego - MCASD La Jolla, La Jolla, CASolo
1998The Erotic SublimeGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, SalzburgGroup
1998From Here to Eternity: Painting in 1998Meulensteen (Former Max Protetch), New York City, NYGroup
1998UTZ, A Collected ExhibitionLennon, Weinberg, Inc., New York City, NYGroup
1997Theorie­s of the Decorative - Abstraction and Ornament in Contemporary PaintingInverleith House, Edinburgh, ScotlandGroup
1997Reopening: Installations and ProjectsMoMA PS1, New York City, NYGroup
1997Relations between contemporary architecture and paintingKünstlerhaus Palais Thurn & Taxis BV:BKV, BregenzGroup
1997Stepping UpAndrew Mummery Gallery, LondonGroup
1995Going For BaroqueContemporary Museum, Baltimore, Baltimore, MDGroup
1995David Reed und Beat StreuliWürttembergischer Kunstverein,StuttgartGroup
1995Pittura Immedia - Malerei in den 90er JahrenUniversalmuseum Joanneum, GrazGroup
1994Chance, Choice and IronyTodd Galleries, LondonGroup
1994Conditional PaintingRosemarie Schwarzwälder, ViennaGroup