Art View by  Paulette Thenhaus


Uncovered, discovered & manufactured


ItŐs been two years since the works of Lori Reed and Rob Reed, wife and husband, were reviewed in Art View (Zephyr 3/9/06). Lori works two-dimensionally, while Rob explores in-the-round. Their current exhibit at the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth allows for more physical space for the new and continuing directions of each.

Most notable in new work is Rob Reed's constructivist metal assemblages. The inventive "manufactures" in wire and a variety of metal tubing are encased in wood. Some have movable parts (ŇT.V. A-AMÓ) and all are designed with a sense of ''wiry'' humor not found in his stone carving. In "Metaplastic Unblasticaator" four different polished metal tubes plus glass and plastic wind around in a wooden box. Though it looks functional, it isn't. ItŐs the bare beauty of the industrial materials that is showcased.

Rob Reed is one of this area's few (if not only) stone sculptors. The six stone sculptures on display are impressive and formal. Hewn from solid blocks of stone, they look Cubistic at first glance, but each sculpture has it's own style and personality, including Art Deco. "He Reminds Me of Another," an alabaster sculpture, stands about 16" tall and is poised on a rough black marble base. A mass of individually carved and polished cubes and rectangles jut out in a centrifugal movement. The weight of the mass is balanced on a single cube. The effect is one of airborne lightness in a weighty stable sculpture.

Though the works look carefully preconceived, Rob Reed attributes his method of working to a sort of Surrealist's Automatic Writing where the intuitive process overrides the deliberate.

Lori Reed is a very successful graphic designer. Her profession is obvious in her exhibit of fifty-six collages, most 8" x 10". This isn't the gritty, curious collage of Kurt Schwitters or even Romare Bearden. It is twenty-first century collage in which the computer plays a major role in construction and finished look. No longer does the actual object or the actual handwritten scrap need to be sacrificed to the artwork ... it can be copied. Yet it is the collages where the real object is added that the genuine is respected and a sense of rarity and preciousness is created. Out of the many collages, "Words are Gone" with its simple abstract design, restrained colors and carefully selected words conveys a deep human feeling. It eloquently speaks of a mother's passing with a sense of loss.

There are crowd pleasers: collages of 19th century paper dolls and a series of old Viewmaster images from the 1950's that evoke feelings of sentimentality and nostalgia. They lack the dense layering, transparency and textural explorations of twentieth century collage. They look computer-generated with no mark of a human hand. Though Reed claims that she is now creating art for herself, it doesn't appear that her commercial approach to images is very far behind.

The exhibit at the Buchanan Center for the Arts runs through June 14, 2008. For info: 309/734-3033