Karen Reid Brings Abstract Art to Ruth Wells Center for the Arts

📷 A pair of abstract paintings await display as Karen Reid and members of The Ruth Wells Center for the Arts prepares Reid’s exhibit. Sarah Champagne photo.

By Sarah Champagne, Managing Editor

SOUTHBRIDGE – “Did it, Done it, Doing It “– that is the celebratory refrain and the theme of Karen Reid’s show “DDD: A Decade” at the Ruth Wells Center for the Arts in Southbridge. That theme of continuity of experience and movement over a decade of work can be seen throughout the exhibit.

The exhibit, which is now on display, shows Reid’s work in abstracts, landscapes and figures over the last 10 years. However, the delineation between these subjects is loose in Reid’s work, with landscapes that feel abstract and abstracts that reveal emerging figures. The soft boundary between categories supports the theme of movement and continuity that can be seen when the work is displayed as a whole. Neutral tones and bright colors that coexist in the exhibit provide both tension and balance. Reid has also included a couple of works-in-progress in the exhibit as a way to show her artistic process and to convey the ongoing nature of artistic work; the past decade of artistic productivity is seen leading seamlessly into the future with these unfished pieces.

“It is all about expression to me, not about being so literal with a subject,” Reid explains as she sets up her exhibit at The Ruth Wells Center for The Arts.

“It’s about finding the energy of a figure, not so much the exact contours. I’m definitely about finding some sort of emotion in a work,” she explains.

Reid describes her artistic process as very intuitive and experiential, as she uses the canvas to convey an internal state. As Reid works, internal and personal experience moves from the abstract to the physical as it is transferred to canvas. Reid describes much of her process in physical terms, even as much of her work could be categorized as abstract.

“The process is all intuitively based. I start putting paint on the canvas and then see if there is a composition or an energy emerging,” Reid says. She describes her artistic process as a “problem-solving” or a “back and forth” of artist and medium.

“Once I get a feeling as I start painting, whether it is in my gut or in my heart, the work is to transfer it to the canvas,” Reid says.

Reid’s work was most recently seen in a prominent show at the Hanover Theater in Worcester, where she was selected for a solo exhibit. The show, titled “Mental Notes” featured many of her abstract landscapes and was promoted by Arts Worcester. Reid was also chosen among other creators associated with Arts Worcester to create paintings for The Mercantile Center at 100 Front Street in Worcester. That commissioned display allowed her the creative freedom to create art appropriate for the large commercial center in downtown Worcester.

Reid is the Gallery Manager at The Silver Circle Gallery in Putnam, Connecticut, which offers art classes, art therapy and other cultural events for the community. Reid works closely with the gallery’s owner to create a space for local art and art appreciators.

It was Reid’s show at the Hanover Theater in Worcester that led to the opportunity for her to exhibit at The Ruth Wells Center for The Arts for the month of October. It was at that show that Reid met Julie Prohska, member of The Quinebaug Valley Council for the Arts and Humanities, the organization that runs The Ruth Wells Center for The Arts. Prohaska admired Reid’s work and invited her to exhibit at the center in Southbridge.

An opening reception for DDD: A Decade will be held Friday, Oct. 12 from 6 p.m. til 8p.m. at The Ruth Wells Center for the Arts, 111 Main Street in Southbridge. The reception and gallery hours throughout the month of October are free and open to the public. Pictured below is a selection of Karen Reid’s work as it was prepared for exhibit at The Ruth Wells Center for The Arts.


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