At her Egg Harbor Township home, artist Glynnis Reed has an art studio downstairs equipped with an easel and paintings in progress. Upstairs, several prints are spread across the table in preparation for her upcoming show at the Noyes Museum.
Reed’s work spans urban spaces, the lush greenery of nature and the intersection of where the two meet.
While identity and place are common themes, nature often is the stage set in her works.
“I like to make someone kind of look at things a little bit differently, from a different angle you may be used to,” Reed said.
But whether that’s through painting, collage or photography depends on what Reed is working on.
The mixed-media artist moved to the area six years ago from her home city of Los Angeles to join her parents, and often gravitates more to photography.
Reed digitally overlaps her images to produce a double exposure effect or painting aesthetic. Sometimes, she combines drawing with her photographs.
In some works, the paintings of a monastery ceiling in Austria are layered with almost opaque street graffiti in Vienna. In another, a woman’s face is dappled with flowers.
“For me, it looks like a painting and I get excited by melding these different mediums together,” she said.
Since moving, Reed said, she has had the opportunity to have multiple solo shows.
“It’s been great for my art career; I’ve had so many opportunities,” she said. “I was doing well when I was (in California) but I think it’s a different type of opportunity and access being in a place like this where there’s probably a little bit different type of demand of art. Being a small community, they look forward to seeing people with a different perspective and I think that’s helped me too.”
Reed is slated to have another solo show this January at the Noyes Museum with her photo series “The Shadow of My Likeness,” in which she said she returns to more “traditional” photography — a medium she has been passionate about since high school.
Sifting through layers of prints on a table in her upstairs photography studio, Reed is still putting them together for the show. “Shadow of My Likeness” captures two women, miles apart between Los Angeles and South Jersey.
“There’s a lot that goes into this particular series and I really had a chance to kind of think about it, and process what my standpoint was in creating this,” she said. “It’s about beauty, representing a type of beauty in young black women, that’s not always appreciated in American culture.”
In 2015, Reed’s “Ascending Beauty” series also had similar themes and appeared at the Noyes Arts Garage. This year, her solo show will move into a larger gallery.
“We’re really excited because it’s a new body of work of hers,” said Simone Cimone, gallery assistant at the Noyes Museum who described Reed’s art as a “subtlety of expression.”
“Looking at her work, it doesn’t hit you in the face (that) ‘oh this was digital,’ or ‘this part is hand,’” she said. “It all merges together and all blends beautifully together.”
Cimone said she is excited to see the new series.
“When I think about nature and representing nature in my work, I think there’s a certain degree where I want the viewer to have a sense of the sublime,” Reed said. “That was something I was very interested in, very consciously, for a while.”
Reflecting on beauty is a crucial element for Reed in her art, all the while mixing it with aspects of identity, place and nature.
“Even with the photos from this series, that’s really a big important part of it,” she said. “Relating to the beauty of these young women, the natural environment, and just kind of having an appreciation for something that may seem hidden and not always appreciated.”
The landscape, models and setting were all deliberate choices, she said. The one model, her niece Melissa, is wearing a shirt that says, “Refused. Can I scream?”
“The idea of different aspects of marginality being at play there is reflected in her dress, her clothing, which make it seems like she’s out of place but in reality the beauty of nature and calm, peace that it brings to us is something we should all be able to enjoy,” said Reed.
Reed, an art teacher at a private school in Philadelphia who holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of California-Irvine, said she is what her mother would describe as a “lifelong learner.”
She recently took a comic-book drawing class at Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia, wanting to continue to hone her craft.
“I kind of have a wide range of interests, I’ve even started getting into drawing back more,” she said.
Reed hopes to leave her mark on those who see her work.
“Especially people who are marginalized,” she said. “To express my voice, but hopefully give a voice to voiceless people and make a difference by helping people to see themselves, recognize something in themselves, through my art work.”