Jeffrey Reed

October 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

While  angry, politicized axe-grinding, and issue-laden work dominates the news of the contemporary art scene, Philadelphia painter Jeffrey Reed is one who has always kept his head down, making modestly scaled paintings from his immediate surroundings. In this video, which showcases the recent work he has done in Ireland at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation and in his home in Philadelphia, Reed shares some of his thoughts about his process and about the meaning of being a painter today.

“…with these paintings, as small as they are, one might be surprised, in that most of the painting, probably 80%.. I do with a brush that’s one, one-and-a-half-inches –  Flats – very much in the mode of Hawthorne, laying in blocks of color, blocks of tone, and then pulling it into focus with smaller brushes later. But I paint from those big relationships..

I’m not locked into a certain palette.  I usually set up in front of a subject and ask myself how many colors can I get away with, meaning how few colors can I use to capture what’s in front of me. I feel like that bracketing helps me have a more cohesive painting and sense of light…

For me painting is a way of connecting to the world around me and I hope that’s also the experience a viewer might have, that they can have something evoked or triggered in them when they look at a painting, something they can identify with. I struggled with this, as I think most artists would..when I was a senior in college. I was starting to feel as if painting was very selfish; that I was doing it just for me, to get recognition or somebody to acknowledge I had talent. I’ve come to realize that it’s not that. Certainly I’d like to be accepted for what I do but it’s really to make a connection, whether it’s with the landscape around me, the world around me, like the world around Vuillard with him painting his mother, his sister; or it’s through the interaction that someone might have looking at my painting.”


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