Susan Reedy: Urban Passage

10 February - 17 March 2018

Anna Kaplan Contemporary (formerly BT&C Gallery) announces Urban Passage, a solo exhibition of new work by Susan Reedy. Urban Passage opens Saturday, February 10th with a reception 6-9 pm. There will be an artist talk at the gallery on Saturday, February 17th at 2 pm. The exhibition will run through March 17th. Spring gallery hours (please note these are updated hours) are Saturdays 12-4pm or by appointment (716-604-6183).

The focus of Urban Passage is Reedy’s mixed media works on canvas that lie at the intersection of painting, drawing, and collage. Reedy’s practice is process oriented, involving many layers of material and visual information. The result is a complex surface with many subtleties that reveals itself over time. Reedy sources collage materials from vintage ephemera— posters, fliers, segments of dictionaries, musical scores, magazines, newspapers— which are then used in combination with acrylic paint and various drawing media. She carefully selects her vintage materials in a process she compares to an “archeological dig” at flea markets, used bookstores, and estate sales and explains, “I have an inherent attraction to the look and feel of source material that has a sense of history to it, particularly things that are perceived as being imperfect. Papers and books that are torn, marked on, held together with string or tape, anything that shows that this object has had a history and a life of its own as it is passed from one hand to another is of interest to me.”

By selecting these overlooked objects, Reedy’s practice transforms and elevates essentially discarded ephemera, once functional in our society, now obsolete as we shift from analog to digital forms of communication.

previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrownext arrow

The artistic process for Reedy is also in many ways “archeological.” Her layering process is in the end a reductive one as she dives into the many layers she has built up, pulling back materials to reveal what is underneath in order to create her final image—a process that recalls Mark Bradford’s use of mixed media. Through the creative process, the text and imagery of the original source material become altered, resulting in new and unexpected combinations of form and context. The techniques used—scraping, tearing and painting over—both destroy and preserve the recognizably vintage materials using contemporary thinking about surface quality and composition.

The aesthetics of the final pieces are meant to explore and respond to facades, most often in urban areas, that are currently in a state of flux due to the passage of time, the elements, and general neglect. Reedy explains:

Over time these exterior surfaces become a visual recording of the passage of time; layers of text and imagery emerge and dissolve creating a palimpsest record of posters, fliers, accidental mark making and graffiti. Both my paintings and works on paper are suggestive of these deteriorating facades that have accumulated fragmented remains of text and pictorial graphics that evoke a sense of place, temporality, and memory. My aim is not to recreate specific walls but to reinterpret the experience of the recording of these accidental journals.

Reedy’s work is both nostalgic and contemporary, increasingly relevant in a time where visual communication is so rapidly changing and many of us rarely take the opportunity to pause and look.


Susan Reedy’s work has been exhibited widely, including solo and two person exhibitions at the Castellani Art Museum, OK Harris Gallery, Hewitt Gallery, and the Amherst Museum. Group exhibitions include Pierogi Gallery, Islip Art Museum, the Albright Knox Art Gallery’s Collector’s Gallery, Butler Institute of American Art, and the Memorial Art Gallery. Permanent collections include the Castellani Art Museum, Memorial Art Gallery, Rich Productions, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Mobil Corporation, Hyatt 48 Lex, and Standard Federal Bank. This is Reedy’s first solo exhibition at Anna Kaplan Contemporary.

Artists in This Exhibition: