20 North Gallery offers Richard Reed exhibitWritten by Hannah Nusser | | email@example.com
In a rare solo exhibit at 20 North Gallery, Richard Reed brings his distinct painting style to the Downtown Toledo art scene in “Richard Reed: Proximity and Vantage Point.”
About 40 of Reed’s oil paintings, gouache paintings and sculptures are on display now through Oct. 31.
“The nice thing about a solo exhibit is that it’s not diluted by other expressions,” Reed said. “You don’t have to shift gears … you know this all comes from one brain.”
Condessa Croninger, associate art director at 20 North Gallery, said it is rare at the commercial art gallery for an artist to carry the caliber to merit a solo exhibit. Croninger said the longtime artist’s work is “instantly recognizable as Richard Reed.”
Reed is known for his intriguing blend of painting styles; he uses bold, vivid colors and classic images. While he is grounded strongly in traditional painting techniques, he also works in a contemporary style, Croninger said.
“You will see a 1939 Auburn Roadster on an abstract background,” Croninger said. “Very unusual, very Richard Reed.”
Reed has lived in Toledo for almost 40 years. He began his career in fine art in the 1960s; he balanced his love for art with a career as an architectural illustrator. He retired in 2007 and now spends his days working on his artwork in his Downtown Toledo studio.
Reed is known for using “family nostalgia, dramatic vistas and symbolic iconography” to achieve an Americana feel in his works, Croninger said. Reed’s muse is his childhood and family. His portrayals of old cars, trucks and machinery are colorful and uncharacteristically set on an abstract background. Much of Reed’s work reflects his rural upbringing in Marion County, Ohio.
“I was a country boy,” Reed said. “And you know farm kids just love old equipment … I’m still drawn by the soul of that kind of a lifestyle. And the old equipment, it’s pretty … it’s colorful. They get old and they take on a personality like people do. They’re characters.”
Reed also sheds light on other influential characters in his life; his works honor his family members and ancestors.
“You want to express who they are,” Reed said. “They live simple, straightforward lives like most of us do, but once you’re in a painting or once you’re in a sculpture your existence has changed to a different kind of entity — it now asks for others to look upon these people.”
Sculpture is a new endeavor for Reed. He began to dabble in ceramics nine months ago; a few of his sculptures are also on display.
Croninger said Reed’s work has been selling particularly well, considering the poor economy and suffering art market.
“Richard’s work is so engaging and thought-provoking and upbeat that I think it is really encouraging people as we see signs of improvement in the economy,” Croninger said. “He is recognizable; people know that his pieces are of value, that he is an artist of integrity, so they know that his work is worth the investment.”
Reed’s pieces are priced for the Toledo audience; both beginning and established collectors have shown interest in the exhibit, Croninger said. Reed had to supply more paintings for the exhibit because, instead of waiting until the end of the month, buyers were eager to take their purchases home.
“That is very exiting when you have an artist that is that coveted by the purchasers that they just can’t wait to get it home, that is great,” Croninger said. “It’s really a sign of how collectible Richard Reed has become.”
The exhibit can be viewed at 20 North Gallery, 18 N. Saint Clair St. Regular business hours are Wednesday through Friday noon to 4 p.m. and Saturday 1 to 5 p.m.