In the Cradle
38 x 47 cm
Born in Christchurch Reed attended the Canterbury College of Art in the 1930's with fellow artists Archibald Nicoll, Richard Wallwork, Olivia Spencer Bower and Russell Clark. Reed had a highly original vision of the New Zealand landscape and his work differed vastly from that of his contemporaries. He saw the landscape as lush, productive and fertile and he portrayed it with strong colours and forms. Reed was strongly influenced by the works of his tutor, John Weeks, his friend and colleague Rita Angus and the British painter Paul Nash. His recognition of the ideological and spiritual crisis facing humanity in the 1930's resulted in works such as Armageddon and Visitation now in the collection of the Reed Estate. These works have a prophetic quality, pre-dating the bombing of Guernica by some months.
At the conclusion of his studies Reed worked for a firm producing pictorial advertising for the movies. Weekends were spent roaming the Port Hills and cycling the Canterbury Plains in search of subject matter. Apart from serving with the Field Ambulance Corp in the Pacific Zone from 1942-45, his life was spent entirely in Otago. Reed's first solo exhibition was held at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, his intense passion for the land and its coastline was spiritually as well as emotionally charged. From today's perspective he is seen as one of the most adventurous members of the School of South Island Painters. Reed taught at the Dunedin School of Art for more than thirty years, a respected and popular tutor, he retired in 1973 continuing to paint till the end of his life. His work is held in major galleries throughout New Zealand.