FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2008
The Tenuous Universe
Last week I attended the E32 art series, hosted by Linda Griggs, despite some deep forebodings, based upon past unfortunate experiences with arts groups that met at cafés on the Lower East Side. I am very pleased to report that the past unfortunate experiences were NOT repeated; on the contrary, it is my sober conclusion that this event was far superior, in both content and attitude, to the Armory Fair. At least, I had a lot more fun there.
I was particularly struck by the paintings of Barbara Friedman, which at first sight appeared to be mere blurred photo-depictions, but upon deeper inspection, proved at once more painterly and more metaphysical. The physical world is indeed an illusion, resolving momentarily out of linear time, then sliding away again.
A salient feature of her style is the bright, almost fluorescent underpainting, which is allowed to glow through the image at key points, intimating the existence of an otherworldly light penetrating into this one.
They manage to be romantic, melancholic and downright creepy, all at the same time.
Barbara says that she usually starts out with a specific image in mind, but often her original plan is completely obliterated by the time she is finished. Her work has been compared to Richter, of course, but has a warmth and depth that Richter's lacks....