Photographer Dede Reed opens “Reflections” at The Art Base
What: Dede Reed, ‘Reflections’
Where: The Art Base, Basalt
When: Through Feb. 19
More info: theartbase.org
A few pears and a Bakelite serving tray led to an unexpected breakthrough for photographer Dede Reed, who opened the solo exhibition “Reflections” at the Art Base in Basalt on Jan. 15.
The artist recalled that she was setting up a shot of the pear on a kitchen windowsill and went rummaging through cabinets to find something to use as a backdrop. She grabbed the black plastic tray and stumbled into something remarkable.
“I realized the reflection on the tray was more interesting than the pears,” Reed recalled Friday morning at the gallery.
She set up a tripod, shot the reflections pears and some other fruit, then started experimenting with other colors by placing construction paper of varied colors under the tray to reflect and add to the luminous, impressionistic image made by shooting the reflection – anything that might add new hues (in one piece she used the reflection of an Andy Taylor painting).
Fourteen years since that discovery, Reed has 22 of these pieces for sale at the Art Base. Hung with magnets against a charcoal grey-panted wall, they’re selling for $200 each with all of the proceeds going to the Art Base.
Reed splits her time mostly between Old Snowmass and Maryland and she traces her photography work to 1966, when she studied it with the legendary Ferenc Berko at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, where she was enthralled by working in a darkroom.
“I just learned to love the process,” she recalled.
Reed took to taking travel photographs and kept it as a hobby, working largely in black and white. But the work fell off as she had children and turned her creative energies to fiction writing.
In 1988, she recalled, she picked photography up again through a workshop with John Sexton at Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Eventually she made the move from film to digital, but she stayed with black and white until around the time she discovered this reflection technique and the painterly effect it created. The gauzy luster in the photos is created in-camera (Reed uses Photoshop only to edit out scratches in the kitchen trays, she said).
“I had always worked in black and white,” she explained. “At first the I thought the color was too much, but then I was so cheered up by it.”
They are an upbeat collection of still lifes, from the vase of white tulips sitting against an undulating sky blue background to the cantaloupe, apple and pear against the velvety purple and the crocus appearing to crawl in a swirl of reflected blues.
Reed had previously sold some of her “Reflections” pieces at a gallery in Bridgehampton, N.Y. but has never had them all together in a solo exhibition like this one.
“It was exciting to see that it still resonated with me after 10 years of not really thinking about it,” she said.
Along with putting together this show, Reed has been steeped in creativity throughout the extended stay-home periods of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
She recently finished writing a collection of short stories, the latest of her self-published work that also includes a novel, a memoir and an earlier story collection. Since the pandemic began, Reed has also learned how to make physical books, creating small chapbooks and filling them with family photos and pictures from art books in her house.
“I decided to take a trip to the museum in my house,” she explained of this creative journey. “I don’t call it art but it feels creative and fun and it is something I’m compelled to do.”
The show is one of the final exhibitions at The Art Base building in Lions Park. The nonprofit is in the process of moving into its new space in downtown Basalt – the site of the former Art Base Annex – and is expected to open its first show there in July, featuring works by painter Leah Potts.
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
With so much uncertainty still around travel, events, celebrations and plans in general, spontaneity has taken on a whole new meaning.