“I heard Seamus Caulfield, an Irish archaeologist, say, in short, ‘A landscape painting incorporates a sense of humanity and history, whereas a painting of scenery is more superficial.’ I have spent a lot of time painting in inhabited, rural places where man and nature come together. I wonder about the people in the buildings, their lives, and their relationship to the environment…. Looking over a distance is a chance to travel in and experience space and several senses of time and change - the weather changes as does a cultivated field.”
- Jeffrey Reed
For nearly forty years, Jeffrey Reed has been eagerly documenting the landscapes of Ireland, rural Pennsylvania, and Maine before taking his paintings back to the studio to finish. When on location, he is particularly drawn to moments when the landscape is in flux.
As the weather begins to change, Reed paints with a sense of urgency to capture the light and atmosphere of the specific setting and time of day. It is during these moments that Reed is driven by a sense of discovery and a feeling of connection to his environment, the comfort of the familiar and the surprise of the new.
Reed also paints singular objects or interior scenes, but like his landscapes, the paraphernalia of humanity is present without the appearance of figures. Although he admits that he is not pursuing the relationship between man and nature as a doggedly philosophical pursuit, there is a connection when the wild expressions of nature bump up against the cultivated, controlled lines of the human world, creating a curious juxtaposition and beautiful design in his works.
Reed paints his landscapes en plein air and keeps them small for practical purposes. However, there is nothing small about the amount of space depicted within the confines of a diminutive substrate. Reed allows you to literally put the whole sky into your pocket, providing a tiny window which opens into an expansive landscape. To Reed, the “key” of the painting can often be found on the horizon, where the infinite and the measurable meet.
Reed received his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, studied at the Skowhegan School of Art, and received his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. Jeffrey Reed lives in Pennsylvania where he is an Associate Professor at the Community College of Philadelphia and the Head of the Art Department. Each summer he paints and teaches on the Western coast of Ireland at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation. Reed has been represented by Gross McCleaf for more than 25 years, and has shown his paintings in Philadelphia, New York, throughout the East Coast, and in Ireland.
Many of the paintings in this exhibition were completed while in residence at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, County Mayo, Ireland.