David Reed

Biography of David Reed

Conceptual artist David Reed (born 1946) is at the forefront of contemporary American abstraction. He is known for his technically complex and colorful elongated artworks, which combine traditional painting techniques with new technologically developed practices.


With European and American art history as his starting point, Reed explores the endless possibilities of gesture and color in creating meaning. He has worked with photography and film, and most of all with laser cutting to produce digitally processed works that are meticulously planned and executed. The seemingly spontaneous brushstrokes are in fact carefully cut into stencils, which are then used to create the artworks, whether through printing or painting, on paper, canvas or board. Due to the process, the usual textures that one expects from such painterly strokes are in fact often absent—the surfaces of Reed’s works are physically smooth and flat, although they appear otherwise to us. Many of David Reed’s works are mixed media, incorporating digital printing and stenciling processes, handwritten texts, painting and drawing all at once.


The way in which David Reed harnesses the power of abstract painting, with its rich and elaborate history, and transforms it into a highly-structured new form of expression is completely unique. His unusually formatted and produced pieces pay homage to the past while at the same time challenging it. The resulting works are at once timeless and ground-breakingly contemporary.


David Reed has placed works in many notable collections across the globe, such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, the MUMOK in Vienna, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. He has received several grants and awards, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship and the Rockefeller Foundation fellowship. The artist currently lives and works in New York City. 

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