“Your work is remarkably skilful and eye-catching and I am not at all surprised that you have been so successful. I could not be more pleased that my Trust helped to start you on your way”
H.R.H. Prince of Wales
Sculpting in metal, primarily in bronze, forged steel, stainless steel, and aluminium has been a passion of Mark’s since 1995.
His practice is deeply rooted in themes of nature, science and the passage of time. With a background in biology and engineering, he is intrigued by the mechanics of natural forms and the way they contribute to the aesthetic appearance of a plant or animal. It is with this understanding that in Reed’s hands, trees become tables, and natural shapes are harnessed for a function in bronze or forged steel (“Sidney’s Oak” Table – 2003)
Reed is interested in intangible structures as well, especially the ways that an individual exists as an element in a hierarchy of collectives. In “Life Leaf” (2000), a single leaf is the `life giver’, giving energy to the whole tree, yet recycled into the system. In Golgi Body (2007), this organelle within a cell echoes the organs of the body which collectively create our working structural form. The rooks in Secret Garden Door (2004) are a mob, building enormous spring nests that signify the end of winter and rebirth for a tree. The cycle of life is given further attention in his winter trees, which illustrate the duality inherent in growth – a living tree needs to be cut and “repressed” in order to allow it to grow healthy and strong. ‘Arbour Metallum’ (2006), is a protector, from the heat of the sun, creating a dappled shade, as nature protects and nourishes us.
Reed’s own experiences of family life have inspired a new series of objects. Whilst Mark was teaching his baby to eat, the humble spoon suddenly became highly significant, as a means of giving nourishment and independence. The same implement can be alienating as well as vital, as in a baby’s hands, an adult spoon is enormous and out of place. This observation led to the stainless steel Spoon Bench (2004), unfamiliar in its size and place, and seemingly levitating.
Following a family tragedy Mark’s work has reflected his emotions, so “Falling onto Solid Ground” (2006) is an exploration of the chaotic descent through human life, where one feels out of control, pulled this way and that (in the drips of the central bronze panel), whilst in reality there is calmness and solidity beside you all along, represented by the parallel sides of iron, iron being the final transfiguration of a star as it turns into a Red Dwarf. “Salvation” (2007) is both a teardrop, where tears are the overflow for raging internal emotions and a droplet of rain or dew which is vital for the existence of life.
Reed’s latest works are “Golgi Body” (2007), “Salvation” (2007) and “Bee Ration” (2007), in “Fork in Pollen” the pollen grain is a male gamete and a vector for the transference of male DNA, as a hay fever sufferer Mark is only too aware of the negative effects of the pollen grain, and it is also a signifier of our irritable patriarchal society, the fork protruding in an erect state.
Work in several private collections in UK, Middle East, USA and Europe.