Sun Patterns—Dark Canyons explores the art and career of the 20th-century American printmaker and painter Doel Reed (1894–1985). Best known today as a Southwestern artist and master of aquatint printmaking, Reed began his career in the Midwest and moved to Oklahoma in the 1920s. He served as an art professor at Oklahoma State University for more than 30 years. Like many other Depression-era artists, Reed embraced American Scene painting—an art movement which depicted everyday life and folk customs. For much of his career, Reed was a friend and colleague of other artists in the Midwest, including members of the Wichita-based Prairie Print Makers.
Ultimately, Reed would find his true inspiration in the rugged terrain and luminous light of New Mexico. The artist began summering in the Taos artist colony starting in the 1940s and permanently moved to New Mexico in 1959. The landscape, geology, and history of New Mexico were his primary sources of inspiration and perfectly suited his signature style—painting and printmaking characterized by geometric abstraction, the dramatic use of lights and darks, and a focus on emotional impact.
Sun Patterns—Dark Canyons: The Paintings and Aquatints of Doel Reed has been organized by the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The exhibition was curated by Dr. Rebecca Brienen.
Oklahoma exhibition sponsors Kent and Jeanette Young, Neal and Lora Buck, Doel Reed Center, Vaughn Vennerberg II Endowed Chair in Art, and Oklahoma State University Museum of Art Advocates provided financial support. The accompanying catalogue was sponsored by Carl and Marilynn Thoma Foundation and Terra Foundation for American Art.