Abigail Reed

Finding Light

28 December - 6 February

Meet the artist, Saturday 5 February, 3-4pm

Abigail Reed is an artist living and working in Frome, Somerset at The Silk Mill Studios. She graduated in Fine Art in 2004 from The University Of Wales Institute of Cardiff, having previously studied in Bath. She moved to Frome in 2019 after 15 years in Bristol where she was based at Jamaica Street Studios, led art workshops for the RWA and various community groups, including Bristol Childrens Hospital.

Drawing has always been the dominating force in her creative practice, whether it is ink, charcoal, pastel or paint, it has been used to create larger than life beasts, delicate moths and now, landscapes. It also plays an integral part in all her art workshops, the one thing that has thread all the projects together.

“There is something magical about using the bare minimum of materials to conjure up a world of ones own, drawing is so readily available, you just pick up the charcoal and start drawing and that immediacy suits my thinking. You have to work with energy and vigour to capture the idea. If a drawing becomes overworked, it loses something and the moment is gone.”

Recently, Abigail has found inspiration in the landscapes around Frome. She walks frequently and takes photographs which are then translated into drawings back at the studio. She seeks transformative moments like being in the forest shrouded in mist or walking at dusk to find the last of the sun. Whether it’s being reflected off an impassable puddle or casting its warmth over a snowy track, the quest is for light and wherever it falls. A local disused quarry is a favourite place, a desolate area abandoned after use. It has now become a place of hope as young silver birch trees populate it and nature thrives in the absence of human life.

Working on the wall in her studio, Abigail uses rich compressed charcoal that is layered heavily onto the paper, light is extracted with fingertips and a combination of erasers that are cut small to capture detail. Thin sticks of willow charcoal are used with extreme precision to draw fragile saplings and branches that reach towards the sky.