Colours in rich jewel tones and beautiful, decorative patterns draw the viewer into Pen Reid's work but on a closer look, there is an otherworldly strangeness to the imagery, suggesting scenes of domesticity, child's play and nature, all in the same painting. It is a glimpse of the home where boundaries are tenuous and exist in a curious balance of alternative settings.
Interested in the contradictions of home as a feminine space, secure and nurturing yet limiting and restrictive, Pen Reid opens it up to the outdoor environment; a tree grows in the living room, a flock of sheep peer out from behind the lace curtain or a couple of foxes sit on the kitchen table.
Intriguing narrative elements often include animals, and to Pen Reid they represent the stories of fable. Their anthropomorphism is a way to explore intimate relationships and interactions or an expression of hidden longings.
The paintings are created in layers, creating depth and compelling compositions, ambiguous and only half revealed. The use of oil paint on board or linen allows the artist to apply thinners and varnish for transparency and texture.
Pen Reid gained a Masters in Painting and Printmaking at the Art Institute of Chicago and has received a number of scholarships and awards. Her work is exhibited widely, including Royal Scottish Academy, Panter & Hall and the Talbot Rice Gallery.