Using muted, pastel colors and shadows, artist Cary Reeder creates striking visuals of a quickly disappearing architectural style. To see more of her art, please visit her website.
My art is influenced by the seemingly mundane environment that is part of day-to-day life: the historic neighborhood where I live, with its old bungalows holding decades of untold stories and secrets, the ancient crepe myrtles in front of my house with their limb-like branches, the warehouse district where I work and find inspiration from the cast shadows on corrugated tin warehouses and grain silos, and so many other scenes and settings that mostly go unnoticed in the daily rush.
The “Neighborhood Series,” an ongoing project since 2009, is inspired by my rapidly gentrifying neighborhood near downtown Houston, Texas. As an artist, I am drawn to the old, the worn, and the creaky. Unfortunately, much of this is quickly disappearing in the wake of progress, and with the loss of many bungalow homes and historic structures, I feel a weighty sense of emotion regarding a collective history lost.
These paintings allow me to document a scene that unfortunately may not survive the wrecking ball. While physical structures are the source of my paintings, I use them as a vehicle to present themes of loss and secrecy. I am entranced by the mysteries held behind closed doors and drawn blinds.
Many of my “Neighborhood” paintings feature striking and often eerie shadows of trees. With my newest series, I have turned my focus to the trees themselves, specifically crepe myrtles. With their twisting, craggy, branches, they take on the resemblance of hands, arms, and fingers reaching toward the sky.
As with most of my work, the reason that I am attracted to different subjects feels like a subconscious process; these trees are something I cannot get out of my mind. Through painting them, the reason will eventually be revealed to me.
I paint in a flat, graphic style that emphasizes precision and straight lines, but strive to always show my “hand” in my work through freehand line-work and organic shapes. Light, shadow, and color are integral to my works. My palette is generally made up of muted, pastel colors and I spend many hours mixing colors to create the impression of bright sunlight casting hard shadows.
My desire is to create a mood and atmosphere with each painting that leaves the viewer curious, unsettled, and questioning; compelling them to fill in the missing details.
Art is family affair for me; my mother Linda was an artist, my sister Joan Babcock is a nationally recognized fiber and bead artist, and my niece Anna Goraczko is a painter. I am originally from Miami, Florida, and have lived in Houston since 1998.
While I have been making art since childhood and worked for several years as a graphic artist, I spent many years as a writer for nonprofit organizations. A soul-stirring trip to Italy in 2006 brought me back to art making and art school, studying at the Glassell School of Art.