oliver david reed

current : 'transition'



"Perception is not something that happens to us. It is something we do. Think of a blind person tap-tapping his or her way around a cluttered space, perceiving that space by touch, not all at once, but through time, by skilful probing and movement. This is, or at least ought to be, our paradigm of what perceiving is. The world makes itself available to the perceiver through physical movement and interaction."

'Action in Perception' Alva Noë, MIT Press 2004


My latest series of paintings, explores a phenomenological engagement of walking through mountainous, often Alpine landscapes, exploring a physical and emotional experience through space and time.


Walking through, and inhabiting these spaces, your perceptions can be challenged, as your own physical position and the environmental conditions change from one minute to the next; a space that looked flat one minute, can the look deep at the next, what was once visible, can now suddenly become hidden. The higher you walk the landscape and ecosystems change, your peripheral vision, which was once filled with a range of colours, movements, soft forms and delicate textures are slowly transformed into muted colours, hard forms and textures, stillness and at first, appearing devoid of life.


Within these high mountainous locations, you become aware of your own remoteness to the familiar and every-day, a sense of being exposed too, but reliant upon, the very elements of the environment you are in of boulders, scree slopes, tundra, snow fields and glaciers. As you traverse further into the space your hearing can become heightened, the exposed geology creates a natural amphitheatre, with the sound being amplified and reverberating around the space, a small disturbance of a few stones can sound like an avalanche across a wide distance.


The apparent lack of colour can disorientate your senses, depth and space can become difficult to judge, what may look flat from one angle suddenly metamorphosis’s into having shape and form. What may appear close, may take time to reach, as your proximity to features and sense of scale become augmented, developing a sense of unease and vulnerability.  Your emotions, perceptions and understanding of a space are constantly being altered and realigned.


These initial experiences that elevate and heighten your senses eventually subside, as you physically move through the landscape you become more in-tune, aware of changes such as the geomorphology through the colour change, surface textures and touch and you begin to understand the landscape, its patterns, forms, sounds, tones, light and textures.


The approaches I use back in the studio aim to echo my relationship to the landscape, touch plays a large role in the making on the works, I often use found tools other than brush in the making of the work, sometimes incorporating stones collected from a walk, as painting tools, reaffirming my emotional and physical connection with the landscape explored.


“My work often moves between disciplines depending on the theme. Key words such as Memory, Ritual, Meditation, Sanctuary, Intrusion and Instrumentation seem to become foundation words to a body of work.

I often find that I am reinventing myself through my work, readily moving from one idea to another with a subsequent shift of medium, such as creating sculptural and conceptual site-specific installations to a more traditional approach to drawing and painting. However, even within this more ‘traditional’ approach I often look to employ unusual tools and techniques, such as exploring the quality of mark through fusing oil paint and water-based materials together or using part of the physical environment, such as employing the use of granite stones to be used as a drawing and painting tool. In essence, making a physical and experiential connection between the memory of visiting a location through to the resulting work, reinforcing and embedding a specific memory.

My works can often appear solitary, bleak and isolated, this is not accidental. I find myself drawn to create work that responds to a space, a land, its geography and ecology, its history and its culture, connecting with places I may have visited, explored or remembered.

Through exploring our natural landscape and inhabiting the spaces we encounter, for me, becomes an intrinsic part of who we are, imprinting us with memories, creating a sense of space, place and the marking of time.”


  • Selected  Exhibitions

    2015      Visual Arts Scotland, RSA, Edinburgh.

    2014      ‘Fabric of the Land’, The SMART Gallery, Aberdeen.

    2014      ‘Beyond Land’, BP Atrium Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland.

    2012      Flat Cat Gallery, Lauder, Scottish Borders.

    2012     Coldstream Gallery, Coldstream, Scottish Borders.

    2012     Duns, Castle, Scottish Borders

    2009     Environmental Sculpture, iPark, Conecticut, USA.

    2008     Superficial Intrusions, Hull College of Art & Design.

    2008     Art for Rosie’ Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland.

    2000     Wasps, (Stockbridge Gallery), Edinburgh.

    2000     'Point-Counterpoint', EICC, Scotland.

  • Films, Articles & Publications

    2014     Documentary film by 'Art in Healthcare' part of a series entitled,  ‘Artist Uncovered’.

    2014     ‘Artist Uncovered’ - An article by Martine Foltier Pugh, ‘Art in Healthcare’.

  • Awards

    2014     Visual Arts & Craft Makers Award: South of Scotland.

  • AIR (artist in residence)

    2013     ‘Outlandia’,  Glen Nevis, Scotland. (unfinished).

    2008     iPark, East Haddam, Connecticut, USA

    1998     Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio, USA.

  • Education


    UAL: Postgraduate Certificate in H.E. in Learning & Teaching.



    Borders College: Introduction to Teaching in F.E. Higher National Unit.



    Edinburgh College of Art: Master of Fine Arts Degree.



    Hull College of Art & Design: BA Hon's Degree, Fine Art.



    Leeds College of Art: Foundation Studies Diploma , Art & Design.

  • Current Employment

    2016 -


    Course Organiser Art and Design,

    Centre for Open Learning,

    University of Edinburgh.


  • Professional Body

    Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


    Visual Arts Scotland - Professional and Council Member


Oliver Reed was born in Beverley, East Yorkshire, England. Having studied for his Foundation Diploma at Leeds College of Art and Fine Art Degree at Hull College of Art, graduating in 1993 he moved to Edinburgh, Scotland and studied for his Master’s of Fine Art Degree at Edinburgh College of Art, (ECA) graduating in 1999 where he taught drawing and painting within the Centre for Continuing Studies.

In 2011-13 Oliver co-founded ‘Allanbank Arts’ an Arts Centre in the Scottish Borders, delivering a range of visual art courses together with offering artists mentoring sessions.


2011-2016 - Drawing and Painting tutor, Lifelong Learning Programme, East Lothian Council


2014-17  - Open College of the Art: tutoring on the Painting and Creative Arts Degree.


2017 - Art and Design Course Organiser, Centre for Open Learning, University of Edinburgh


Artists' Surgery


Mentoring is an important aspect in the development of an artists practice. By discuss your ideas with someone else can helps to ground your thoughts, vision and concepts, allowing you to verbalize your intentions and enabling you to see alternative and additional possibilities, often sparking new ideas and directions.


Focusing on the Fine Arts I am able to offer mentoring sessions, catering to your needs and requirements, offering supportive and constructive critique of your work, with constructive comments to help your practice move forward.


Who might require mentoring?

You may be an individual looking for a new direction within your work or wanting to explore new ways to develop your ideas in a sketchbook. You may be a person looking to put together a portfolio ready to apply to a college or alternatively you may be a group wanting to discuss a selection of group works.


Please select on the four options below or for further information and to discuss your needs please click here to contact me.


(please be aware that there is an additional £3.50 charge for the use of PayPal)

  • OPTION 1         At Yours one-to-one


    Price £50

    (please contact me for prices beyond a 20 mile radius of Peebles, Scottish Borders).


    This is an ideal way for a mentoring session, especially if you have a studio space with your research, ideas and work in one place or if your work is of a considerable weight and/or scale. It is also a great option if you have difficulties with travel arrangements and it would be convenient to yourself.

    The mentoring session will offering supportive advice and ‘next step', tailored to your own needs.

  • OPTION 2         At Mine: one-to-one


    Price £40

    (this includes a review of a portfolio of work and sketchbooks)


    If you live reasonably close to Peebles, Scottish Borders then why not arrange an appointment to meet with me. This option is ideal if you have a small selection of work and are wanting an input into your direction or you have a portfolio of work which you wish to be reviewed before applying to College for example.

    The mentoring session will offering supportive advice and ‘next step', tailored to your own needs.

  • OPTION 3         Online: one session


    Price £30

    (this includes up to eight pieces of work and one sketchbook)


    This gives you the opportunity to feedback, offering supportive and constructive suggestions as to the  ‘next steps’ within your work.

    The benefits of this option is that you can dip in and out, submitting work you feel you are ready for some critical reflect regarding an aspect to a body of work.

  • OPTION 4         Online : One year / six sessions


    Price £125

    (this includes a small selection of for each session)


    This mentoring option gives you the chance to have six, individual online mentoring reviews throughout the year. Enabling a working relationship to grow between us, allowing you to develop your knowledge and understanding to your approaches and working methods. This options allows for the discussions to become more bespoke, supporting the evolution and development of your work.

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a sense of space, place and the marking of time

© 2016 oliver david reed