DAVID REED: Works on Paper
at Peter Blum

In his first exhibition with Peter Blum in Soho (through March 6), David Reed is showing a fascinating group of works on paper, including color studies and working drawings. The color studies are small quick paintings on paper that feature Reed's signature swirling slabs of color, but are much more offhanded and loosely structured than the paintings, with the white of the paper playing a positive role in each piece. They are beautiful abbreviated moments of high facility that in some ways make his large-scale paintings look excessively labored. Which leads us to the working drawings -- groups of notebook pages filled to overflowing with visual and verbal notes addressing every imaginable nuance of Reed's practice. It is hard to imagine that he actually engages in such an obsessively detailed process. The pages read like an ongoing conversation with himself, and reflect not only the precision of his material process, but the perpetual uncertainty that infuses his decision making. It would be interesting to know if Reed has always worked this way, or if such copious verbal notations entered his practice later as studio assistants took over more of the hands-on labor. At any rate, these are wonderful things to peruse, and they reveal a much more personal aspect of Reed's process than has ever been seen.