David Reed, born in 1946 in San Diego, is one of the most influential American artists of abstract painting. His paintings often involve a long and complex technical process combining traditional painting techniques with the use of laser cut stencils that are produced using digital image processing. Reed’s paintings are the result of the artist’s interest in and extensive knowledge of the history of European and American painting ranging from the Italian Renaissance, and European Baroque to American Pop Art, Photorealism, Minimalism, and Abstract Expressionism. Working with elongated, mostly horizontal formats Reed’s works in the past have also been associated with new media formats including photography and film.
In Reed’s often asymmetrical compositions, the large, seemingly spontaneous painterly gesture of the brushstroke appears as figure superimposed onto monochromatic grounds. These figures however are complex constructions that, due to the absolute smoothness of the surface, defy the sensual, lush, and subjective expressivity generally associated with painting; instead, emotions in Reed’s work translate through the selection of colour and structure.
Reed’s work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide including a major show at the Kunstmuseum Bonn in 2014 and at Haus Lange in Krefeld in 2015. In the same year, the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin showed Reed’s work alongside works by Mary Heilmann. David Reed has been awarded the Ursula Blickle Foundation Art Award (2001) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1988).