Edinburgh-based artist Pen Reid gained her Masters in Painting and Printmaking at the Art Institute of Chicago on an International Peace Scholarship. On graduating she was awarded the Institute’s Ryerson Travelling Scholarship and the Austin Museum’s Juror’s Award.
In her work, Pen explores the domestic and the outdoor environment, often depicting both in the same painting. She is interested in the contradictions of home as feminine space: that is, secure and nurturing, but at the same time a place of restriction and interdependency. In many of her paintings we observe home opened up, with the fourth wall removed, or we glimpse it through open curtains, windows and doors. Often home is transported into a natural setting or else nature invades home.
The paintings Pen created during lockdown in 2020 reflect our limited connection to wild places and contact with animals (Lost Sheep). Hanging over us was the sense that nature, in the invisible form of the coronavirus, was hunting us (Hunters) in order to multiply and thrive. She found herself painting wild animals either being briefly glimpsed from a car (Dusk Fox) or craftily sneaking into our domestic environment (Indoor Foxes).
Recurring animals in Pen’s work suggest fable and anthropomorphism and often symbolise intimate relationships. She is interested in our closeness to and distance from animals and our interactions with them both in the home and the wild.
Pen uses oil paints on linen or board, building a surface to break down, with a painting often made up of many half revealed layers. Varnish and thinners are used to create controlled accidents of transparency and texture.
Pen has exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, The Union Gallery, The Open Eye Gallery, Inverleith House and Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh, Thompson’s Gallery in London and abroad in Chicago, Banff and Texas.
Pen is also a published poet and her work has been performed to five-star reviews at events including The Edinburgh Fringe and CoastWord Festival.