In his recent exhibitions, the painter David Reed has also made installations using film and video to explore the place of painting in our culture. In one instance, he used a computer-generated montage technique to incorporate his own paintings into scenes from a Hitchcock film from the 1950s. The use of film and video make sense for the artist who has long used illusionistic painting devices to animate his colorful, abstract canvases. His video and film pieces are reminders that painting once occupied the central place in culture that now seems dominated by film. The fact that Reed assigns his paintings key roles in the films, however, underscores the notion that painting remains the most forthright of all means of visual expression.
In this show, titled "Las Vegas Piece," a number of medium-sized paintings line the walls. Outstanding among the brilliantly hued offerings are #418, whose slashing brush strokes of hot pink and yellow form a 3-D "W" shape that appears to hover over a dense black ground, and the vivid pink and blue #358, which also appears in a video. Reed has digitally inserted the painting into the background of Michael Mann's 1987 film Crime Story, a video projection that runs continuously on one wall. The artist further conflates illusion and reality by placing a video camera near the gallery entrance, aimed at #358 on the far wall. Like the actors in the movie, gallery visitors, appearing in a video monitor, are caught on camera with the painting hanging in the background.
David Reed, "Las Vegas Piece" at Max Protetch (May 16-July 3), 511 W. 22nd, New York, New York 10011.