Friday, January 29, 2016

Political Pop Prints

I am engaged with my work at all the varied stages of making from the spark of an idea to the opening of the gallery door.
Leslie Friedman

Last year the Philadelphia based artist Leslie Friedman exhibited her work Art Basel Miami for the first time. But it was not at a $50,000 booth in the main hall but at a satellite venue; the soon to be demolished, derelict Ocean Terrace Hotel with the more modest cost to play of $250.

Along with 40 artists and collectives from around the world, Friedman converted one of the rooms into an installation of prints wheat-pasted to the walls which will remain in situ until the wrecking crew moves in.

As she told News Works’ Peter Crimmins "I do a lot of site-specific work, and I hate deinstalling them. The idea I could do something and not have to take it down was just too delicious to ignore… I hear about artist-run spaces, and to actually meet these people and be working together to turn this hotel into something that looks like art, not decay, was really magical."

Away from the mega million-dollar signature world Friedman pursues her pop art aesthetic of bright colors, repetition, text and recognizable images of celebrities to conduct an exploration of print, pattern, and multiples through large scale installations.

As she says in her Artist’s StatementAs a student of both art and political science, I am intrigued by the power of a visual vocabulary to set the stage for political dialogue.  I see my role as a visual director employing both fine art and industrial methods.  Screen-printing offers a seamlessness that allows imagery to be peeled away from its original sources and built into something else altogether.  What is thus constructed is a fantasy world that combines identifiable elements from the everyday with my own over imagination, often resulting in a funny perversion of a “what if” game.”

About which The Talbot Spy’s art critic, Mary McCoy, wrote in 2014 “Friedman is less concerned with the aesthetics of art than with the ways we communicate and build our belief systems. Her in-your-face look at consumer culture’s passion for overstimulation and vacuous pleasure is fairly predictable, but it offers a cursory nod to the fact that in a world of titillating underwear ads, graphic news videos and online pornography, art long ago lost its power to shock.

Friedman’s current exhibition Vivianus is on show at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts until the 26th of June.

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