Monday, April 25, 2016

Painting as Conversation

“Color is more important to me than anything else.
David Reed

For the American abstract painter David Reed painting is a two-way conversation that both links the past and the present and the artist with their audience and for the latter color is an integral introduction.

As he explained to The Oregonian’s DK Row “In the world today, we see a lot of wild and strange color -- commercially made color, the color of cars, plastics, combined with the natural colors of the world, combined with the media colors on television and movies and computer screens and strange lights from all of those sources. All of this is affecting us all of the time. But we don't have emotional connotations for those colors. Painting is a way to deal with those emotional connections and integrate them into this wonderful history that painting is.

But the history that Reed is interested in is not the history found in academic tombs but that which can be found on the street between like-minded people.

As he told the Brooklyn Rail’s John Yau “I love that about painting. I can find my own way. The street history is a conversation, a long conversation. Dave Hickey says it started when two guys sat down over cappuccinos at an outdoor café in Rome about 1620. One said he liked the Farnese ceiling by the Carracci and the other said he liked Michelangelo’s Sistine better. They argued. Dave says that conversation is still going on and if you want to join in, you can.

It is the rational that in part drives Reed’s work. “One of the reasons I love Baroque paintings so much is that they have all those religious themes, but the paintings are not about that religious subject matter. There’s a second meaning underneath. The painters used the religious themes as metaphors to get at other subjects… What interests me about paintings are the connections to life. Paintings are very subtle, true to emotions and feelings, which are very hard to describe. These emotions and feelings are especially hard for me to understand and describe verbally. Somehow through painting I can get to them,” he says.

And it is through abstraction that Reed endeavors to entice his audience to join this conversation.

As he says “I want viewers to choose to participate and have their own thoughts. I don’t want to control their thoughts at all. What’s important is the connection and collaboration with the viewer, rather than control. It’s easier to do this with abstraction, rather than figuration.

Reed’s current exhibition of New Paintings is on show at New York’s Peter Blum Gallery until the 25th of June.

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