In 2015, Reeder was in a duo show with the artist Andrew Kuo at Marlborough gallery in New York. In an interview with the two artists, Reeder specifically addressed his list paintings, "I got to the point where I realized I had more ideas than I could ever realize, so now I’m just presenting the ideas.” One "list painting" titled, "Artists to Watch," lists Picasso, Pollock, Warhol, Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones, Miller, and Davis, some of which are obviously iconic, and others of which are ubiquitous names that happen to be shared by famous artists, but which are also shared by literally thousands of other working artists. The list painting "More Ideas for a tv show episode or a painting" meanwhile could be read as simply a realistic painting of ideas that Reeder actually had for names of TV shows and paintings, or, as with the Artists to Watch painting, it could be thought of as an absurdist commentary on the inherent value and meaning of words.
Reeder has said, "My work almost always starts with language." Even his seemingly least text based works—his pasta paintings, which use pasta as a sort of stencil to create seemingly abstract linear compositions—were inspired when Reeder wrote the sentence "pasta paintings," prior to knowing what it was he was trying to say or do.
In many of Reeder’s paintings and neon sculptures, the written word is exactly what it appears to be: a conveyance of thought, unencumbered by conceptual abstraction. Or is it? Sometimes, he seems to be poking fun at something, as in his painting Alternative Titles for Recent Exhibitions I’ve Seen (2014), or More ideas for a TV show episode or a painting (2017). Other times, he seems to be simply making a direct statement of fact, as in his painting Wall Talk (2012), which prominently features those words, or his neon sculpture Interesting (2018). Funny, ironic, whimsical, critical, and sometimes melancholy, Reeder's works excel first and foremost in the art of understatement.
Idea Sale, Kavi Gupta, 2019 Chicago, IL United States