Work of Liz Reday Displayed at SoPas Gallery

By Thomas Field
South Pasadena Review
December 1, 2010

It's not often an artist has a "breakout" show. The term is often misappropriated to describe new work that might lend itself to new interpretation or be characterized by fresh nuance.

The works by Liz Reday currently on view at the SoPas Gallery, however, truly represent a "breakout" from the conventions that characterized earlier work last exhibited in this gallery's inaugural show in 2007.

Known locally as a "plein air" painter whose works represented local landmarks in the style of the California plein air painters of the earlier twentieth century, Reday's work has been shown and collected both locally and abroad. With years of study and decades of work, including a master of fine arts degree from the Royal College of Art in London, one can hardly refer to Reday as a "late bloomer" in painting. With the convergence of recent influences, however, the studied aspects of her skills have blossomed into a new body of work that veritably explodes from the canvas in an exuberant response to an aesthetic epiphany.

Influenced in her palette by recent travels in India, and searching for a relevance in her work that had been elusive, Reday found her inspiration in the concrete-lined waterway of the city known as the Los Angeles River. Flung over with bridges and freeways, and flowing with the human and material detritus of our human environment, Reday has consumed the bleakness of that vision and returned it to us with an insight and excitement that gives the lie to the emptiness imagined there.

These paintings, vibrating with color and movement, move far beyond the meticulously studied plein air visions of earlier work to give us a new, joyously expressionistic and courageous challenge to our perceptions.

On view now through Dec 30, SoPas Gallery will host a reception for the artist on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 6 to 9 pm.

For inquiries or information about upcoming exhibitions, contact the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.