Energetic colourful geometric patterns, layer upon layer disappearing into the distance and round the edges of the canvases themselves, with architectural hints that perhaps connect with Robert Reed’s early career as an assistant to the landscape architect James Skiritt on the Wooster Square Project, New Haven, CT, and his involvement with public art projects as juror, advisor and artist, including the North Terminal, National Airport, Washington DC.
Robert Reed (1938-2014) was one of America’s leading African-American abstract artists, with a major retrospective exhibition at the Whitney in New York in 1973, but is better known for his influence on a generation of American artists through his academic and teaching career first at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and Skidmore College in Saratogo Springs, NY, but then for an astonishing 45 years at the Yale School of Art, initially as a Assistant Professor of Painting and then, from 1987, as Professor of Painting until his death in 2014, during which period he also was guest artist and lecturer at a host of colleges and universities across the USA and Europe, while also advising on, and designing, art education programmes for several institutions. Robert Reed was a man with a huge influence on art education and a great supporter of art in public places.
We are lucky that we can see a selection of his works from the late 1970′s/early 1980′s in London – with an intriguing London link. Alongside several of his powerful canvases inspired by Paolo Ucello’s ‘The Battle of San Romano’ in the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square are sketches and drawings, on show at Pilar Corrias in Eastcastle Street.