Water Ring with Outliers, 2013. Painted steel and wood. Photo courtesy the artist.

Later today, I’ll be visiting with Riikka, who, along with her friend Virpi, spent a year at the Colorado College, as studio art majors, with the rest of their undergrad education spent in their home country of Finland. I love it when CC alums reach out to me like that, as has happened a few times lately (coinciding with CC’s homecoming week). In our DM conversation, she said she knew I wasn’t associated with the college anymore, but wondered if I knew if Carl Reed or Scott Johnson were around. I said I’d check.

A double selfie I added to this post before the day was Finnish’d

Prior to visiting me, Riikka stopped by the 3D Arts Building at the Colorado College where I used to work, I think primarily to make sure her mug was still gracing the front of the ear, eye, and nose protection cabinet I built. It is. (Behind her in this photo is a pic of Jody Joyner, another CC alum, covered in Styrofoam dust, snapped by Carl Reed when she was an undergrad student at CC. Yesterday, Riikka met Jody, who is a visiting professor currently teaching a class in the building, and, though they weren’t students at CC at the same time, they recognized each other from the cabinet. BTW, I got to have lunch with Jody yesterday. Also, I see Hank Weaver’s still on the cabinet as well).

Got me thinking about the following post, originally written (well, primarily photographed) in 2014, just prior to the opening of a group sculpture exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens. It focuses on artist and Colorado College Professor Emeritus Carl Reed’s contribution to the show, and it was one of my all-time favorite posts to work on (as well as the one which, taking place over weeks of documenting Reed’s process, necessarily took the most time, countering the adage “less is more”).

As it pertains to Reed’s work, that’s part of its fascinating appeal for me – his seeming inability to fail to combine the perfect balance of forms and materials and variegated textures and colors – never overblown (b.t.w., in the flesh, the colors for Water Ring with Outliers aren’t as heightened as the pics would suggest), never underdeveloped, to arrive, like the Goldilocks and the Three Bears, at “just right”. Only he never fails to hit the mark time after time, somehow always in a unique way, leaving me to scratch my head and wonder how he did it again. (In the classic children’s tale, the old lady, after finishing the bowl of porridge, settles into the Wee Bear’s chair, and breaks it. They broke the mold with Carl Reed’s artistic sensibilities, as well.) 

All of the work-in-progress and installation photos were taken by yours truly either at the Colorado College Art Department’s 3D Arts Shop, where Reed fabricated the work, or at the Denver Botanic Gardens, where he and I installed it. 

The Denver Botanic Gardens will soon be highlighting the artistic work of twelve Colorado sculptors in an outdoor exhibit entitled Catalyst: Colorado Sculpture.

Opening May 4 at 9 am and running through January 12, 2014, the exhibition showcases the work of artists Emmett CulliganKim DickeyLinda FlemingNancy LovendahlTerry Maker, Robert MangoldPatrick MaroldAndy MillerPard MorrisonCarl ReedYoshitomo Saito, and James Surls, in cooperation with Goodwin Fine ArtRobischon Gallery, and the William Havu Gallery. Supporting the exhibition are UMB Bank, Colorado Creative Industries, and the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).   

Today I primarily regard the work of participating sculptor Carl Reed, Professor of Art, Emeritus at the Colorado College, and frequent summer workshop instructor at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, who has just completed a sculpture titled Water Ring with Outliers, consisting of three separate elements created and placed specifically for a site in the gardens. 

Reed explained that although he has, in some of his past work, intentionally hidden portions of the creative process for aesthetic reasons, with Water Ring with Outliers he wanted allow evidence of every stage of its fabrication in the finished, three segmented piece. Therefore, the following photo-centric and, after this brief intro, largely text-free post is intended as visual documentation of the Reed’s process which, in a way, mirrors his methodology. Today, I want Carl Reed’s choice of material, technique, tool, mark making, form, and color to do most of the talking. 

The remaining photos were taken onsite at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

This photo and the two following: Water Ring with Outliers, 2013. Painted steel and wood. Photos courtesy the artist.

I’ll end today’s post by repeating that again, for my artistic sensibility, Carl Reed has the Midas touch in terms of his ability to turn ‘base’, raw material into transcendent artistic work. 

At the very least, he must have stolen King Midas’ large, gold ring. It’s evident in his ability to cleave the non-essential and in his penetrating, keen-eyed mastery of the three-dimensionality of sculptural work. 

A traveling retrospective of his work spearheaded by some noteworthy museum, in my humble opinion, is long overdue. I want to thank him for allowing me to capture just a hint of his methodology in creating Water Ring with Outliers today. More of Carl Reed’s work may be found on his website, linked here

Reed is represented by the Robischon Gallery in Denver.


This morning, while working out on the stadium stairs at nearby Colorado College, after having just reposted this on Facebook, I chuckled inwardly as I hatched the humorous title I used today, along with a bit of a scheme. I hope Carl approves of the title. We’ll see. He doesn’t tend to let on much, though the rare occasions we do interact, especially in email form, it’s usually chock full of dry humor (note his comment and my reply following my most read blog post to date). And when he does talk, it’s usually to ask others, for instance, asking Prof. Jean Gumpper, for their thoughts on things such as color palette, and it was common for me to witness him asking CC students their opinions about what he should do about this or that formal issue in his work as well. 

However, frustratingly, he continues to staunchly steer clear of any of my ideas regarding promoting his work. Carl Reed’s pretty much my antithesis when it comes to social media (though I was, earlier this year, one day away from permanent deletion of my Facebook account). He tends to let his work do the talking, and I think today’s largely text-free photo essay is a fitting mirror of his evident, yet otherwise unstated, philosophy. 

In response, I’m throwing it out there into the ether that, should a cigar of Carl’s choosing from Nat Sherman’s appear on my doorstep sometime soon after he returns from New York next week, without my asking him or anyone else to read all the way to the very bottom of this post – without asking anyone to read it at all, my thesis that from time to time, anyway, there’s some small value in participating in social media, however distasteful and deserving of the label “self promotion” it may be, shall prove correct.