Artist To Be Featured In Adopted 'Village'

Posted: July 23, 1989

It was the "village atmosphere" that first attracted English artist Janet C. Reed to West Chester.

"There is a neighborhood feeling here that makes me feel very much at home and confident here," Reed, 43, said.

The London-born artist has exhibited and sold her work around the world. But for the first time in the 17 years that Reed has lived in West Chester, her work will be exhibited in her adopted "village."

Reed's work will be featured in an exhibition, "Art of the American Southwest," which will run during the month of August at the Merrill Collection, a gallery at 39 W. Gay St. in West Chester.

Other artists in the exhibit are R.C. Gorman, Amado Pena, Bill Rabbit, Frank Howell, Carol Grigg, James Carter and B.C. Nowlin.

How does a London-born artist living in Chester County produce a series of American Southwestern art?

"In the past, I was known as an animal painter," she said. "I sold many of my animal paintings to galleries on the East and West Coasts. But then I became pigeon-holed as an animal artist, and when I tried different things, I found the galleries weren't buying.

"So, I stopped showing my work in galleries and started painting things I wanted to."

Among those things were the desert hues and subtle designs that typify Southwestern art.

"She's experimenting with textures, patterns and colors, and I think this makes her oil and watercolor style very unique and exciting," said Kate Merrill, owner of the Merrill Collection.

Merrill is excited to have a internationally recognized artist and a West Chester resident exhibiting in her gallery.

"Janet graduated from the Medway College of Arts in Kent and studied at the Royal College of Art in London," Merrill said.

"Among her list of private collectors are Princess Ann of England, Walter Cronkite, Betty White, Gerald Ford and the late Henry Fonda. And she has had her works in a number of institutional and private collections in this country, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, France and Scandinavia."

Reed also teaches art at the Chester County Art Association and at her own studio in West Chester.

Merrill said she got the idea for an exhibit on the American Southwest

because she had seen an interest in it at her own gallery.

"I believe people like it because it goes well in homes with its desert hues and soft pastels," she said.

The Merrill Collection is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For information, call 430-0304.

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