Viewfinder

Viewfinder

The exhibition features a series of small-scale oil paintings on paper depicting interior spaces and still lifes. The exhibition will be on view from October 19th through November 30th, 2019, with a reception for the artist on Saturday, October 19th from 6-8pm, and an Artist Talk on Saturday, November 16th at 2pm.

The series of interior portraits that make up Viewfinder feel both familiar to those with knowledge of Frerichs’ work, and remarkably distinct. For the past ten years, her work has focused on observing inner states of self, and how they might manifest as tangible forms. Frerichs moves between languages of abstraction and representation, often using representational elements fluidly within abstract compositions. She allows each language to inform the other and subtly break down the fiction of purity in both. The paintings in Viewfinder began in the margins of Frerichs’ practice; small observational paintings created over the past two years, that were intended as letters to herself. She recognized them as the central story only as time went on, and five paintings became fifteen, then twenty, and on.

Oil, wax, and graphite on paper render “The news today”, 2018: a view of Frerichs’ living room showing her couch, coffee table, and shelves in front of which the television is on showing the Kavanaugh hearings, all in 15 by 11 inches of calm and classically composed space. In “Studio visit with Deb”, 2018, the aftermath of professional conversation and friendship is described through an image of a plate with several cherry pits and pistachio shells, flanked by two red fabric crumpled napkins on a small ornate table. The evidence of a relationship is felt through the order and disorder of the scraps left behind. “Orange Ranunculus, pink tulip, fertility test”, 2019 gives us a closeup view of the same ornate table in Frerichs’ studio, now carrying reading glasses resting on a laptop keyboard, warm colored flowers against a cool blue background, and a small band-aid with the just the tiniest amount of blood at its center.

In naming the show Viewfinder, Frerichs references the physical act of framing a composition from life by using a classic viewfinder, a rectangular hole cut in a hand-held piece of paper. All works in the show were composed and painted using a viewfinder, which Frerichs describes as an object that “at once tells you what is important to look at, but inherently blocks out so much as well”. In that sense, the viewfinder becomes a metaphor for both the value of subjectivity as well as the problem of representation. Further, when we look through a cutout to choose a composition, we cannot share that view with anyone else directly. We can only translate that view through the use of words or a represented image. In the case of many of the works in Viewfinder, Frerichs uses both words and image. She begins each work by writing her immediate thoughts in a stream of consciousness manner onto the back of each blank surface. Only then does the image itself begin to be composed and painted on the front; the meeting of Frerichs’ interior words and the tangible space seen through the viewfinder becomes the painting.

At the Artist Talk on November 16th, Frerichs will enact the engagement between text and composition by pulling each painting off of the wall in order to read the writing on the back for the audience. A several page interview between Frerichs and Los Angeles artist Charles Long—whom Frerichs studied with while in graduate school at UC Riverside— will be available as a takeaway during the exhibition.

Viewfinder

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