Mr. Reed acquired his public identity as an artist when he was included, along with Gene Davis, Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis, Thomas Downing and Howard Mehring, in “The Washington Color Painters,” a landmark traveling exhibition that began at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art in 1965.
All of the other painters had been shown, the year before, in “Post-Painterly Abstraction,” a 31-artist exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art organized by the critic Clement Greenberg in an effort to write a new chapter in the historic march of abstract art.
Like his fellow Washington artists, Mr. Reed rejected the hot, gestural approach of Abstract Expressionism and explored color and abstract forms in a cooler mode. Working with diluted acrylic paint, in discrete series that methodically explored formal issues, he created luminous fields of color by letting the paint bleed into, or stain, untreated canvas.
“I have a saying: Pollock dripped, Frankenthaler poured,” he told The Washington Post in 2011, referring to the artist Helen Frankenthaler. “Morris Louis poured. Howard Mehring sprinkled. I blot.”
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