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reed magazine logoAutumn 2008

David Reed #320-2 1993–99 Oil and alkyd on canvas 24 x 102 in. Collection of Lisa Ann Favero

Lives of Paintings by Stephanie Snyder ’91

Words for #320-2

But the power of #320-2 lies in its active spatial engagement, the way in which it integrates itself with its surround and comes to resonate with the body. The painting openly declares itself a fragment of the larger whole of the space at hand. Most of its forms coalesce off canvas and erupt on to it, each proceeding at its own rate of intensity, the gestural strokes of its dominant lamina shooting across the horizontal field with the greatest speed and force. A relief of magenta, also interjected from beyond the frame, punctuates the canvas from the lower right corner. Like a semi-colon, the colorful remark temporarily pauses the swirling, undulating mass of dark strokes, signaling a shift in the trajectory before its energy compels it to continue out into the room.

—Lisa Ann Favero, excerpted from David Reed: Lives of Paintings, a monograph published by the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery,
© Reed College, 2008

Renowned New York abstract painter and Reed College alumnus David Reed ’68 is returning to the college for a one-person exhibition of paintings created over the last three decades, from 1965 to the present. This diachronic installation, Lives of Paintings, brings together interrelated bodies of Reed’s work: early gestural landscapes, time-based performative paintings from the 1970s, and large-scale, intensely optical paintings from the last 20 years. Each body of work illuminates the strategies and nuances of the others, exploring the “lives” of the paintings within the intimate conversational space of the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery.

To investigate the lives of the paintings as social objects, the Cooley is publishing an experimental monograph that includes a collection of individual, large-format reproductions of each painting in the exhibition; the translocational “life story” of each painting is explored through essays and photographs. Designed by Joshua Berger of PLAZM in collaboration with the artist, the monograph includes essays by Jeffrey Kipnis, Lisa Ann Favero, and Charles Rhyne, professor emeritus of art history at Reed; a conversation with exhibition curator Stephanie Snyder; and a preface by Michael Knutson, professor of art at Reed.

David Reed completed his 1968 painting thesis at Reed with Willard (Bill) Midgette, and cites Reed College as the catalyst for his artistic awakening and the milieu in which he first experienced the intellectual and material rigor of artistic life. Before returning to Reed to complete his degree, Reed studied painting with Philip Guston and Milton Resnick at the New York Studio School. He has had solo exhibitions at the Max Protetch Gallery in New York since 1976. Large exhibitions of his paintings and video installations traveled to U.S. museums in 1998 and 2005, and to European museums in 1995 and 2001. Reed has received grants from the NEA, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, and received the Skowhegan Medal for Painting in 2001 and the Ursula Blickle Foundation Art Award in 2002. He initiated and advised the exhibition High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967–75, which was curated by Katy Siegel and organized by the iCI, Independent Curators International, New York. Traveling for three years to numerous institutions, the exhibition not only captured a tumultuous period of political and social change, but also reflected the impact of the civil rights struggle, student and anti-war activism, and the beginnings of feminism in the art world.

Lives of Paintings
October 29–December 9, 2008
Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College
Exhibition Curator: Stephanie Snyder, Director, Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College

reed magazine logoAutumn 2008