Installation view, West gallery
June 15 - July 27, 2013
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 15 6-8pm
gallery km is proud to present The Conversation, our first solo show of work by Los Angeles-based artist Christine Frerichs. The exhibition is presented in two distinct but related series in the west and east galleries, one featuring a series of ten sequentially grouped mid-sized mixed-media paintings on canvas, and the second featuring one large and several small paired canvases. The exhibition will take place from June 15 through July 27, 2013, with an opening reception for the artist on Saturday, June 15th, from 6-8pm.
In The Conversation, Frerichs presents work that integrates abstract and representational references to tell the story of reconciling and expressing various sides of the self, and the interplay between passion, vulnerability and control. Through the use of densely textured layers of interlocking paint, and the complex interplay between color and pattern, Frerichs creates abstract portraits in which colors become stand-ins for people or places, transforming the pieces themselves into abstract diagrams of relationships, senses, events, and the physical body. Each painting begins with a layer of textured paint forming a radiating figure”8” pattern, with the measurements of the figure eight based upon Frerichs own body—the top loop corresponding to her eye level, and the base loop to her navel—and with the form itself made by carving grooves into a thick layer of modeling paste. Superimposed on these textured foundations are imagery and mark-making that oscillate between eruptions of color, light and form that read as spontaneous, to very controlled lines and patterns, speaking to the range of emotional experience that Frerichs describes as moving from “explosively exaggerated performance” to “a restrained seizing of the body”.
In these paintings, the physical body (as paint on canvas) receives, reflects and reveals, but also very definitely acts and projects. The emotional content of past memory and the transformational potential of present experience abut and challenge one another, and often do so with a powerful sense of play. Frerichs expects these conversations to provide a cacophony of possible dialogue, with actors including body and mind, past and present, internasl and external, self and other, artist and audience, all available and collapsed into fleshy, uncomfortable, beautiful, intelligent, messy and yet highly choreographed compositions. The titling of the pieces as “conversations” invokes the social structure of interaction—the rules and conduct governing how we connect to each other—and the constant tug of war between the desire to connect and the need for self/society-protective guidelines, as well as the tension between controlled narrative and disruptive emotion.
The self, as represented in both physical and ephemeral form in Frerichs’ canvases, becomes memory’s receptacle and its visible interpreter as it moves through the present. In the smaller series of paired paintings, each piece is formed by two canvases placed next to one another, with a pattern similar to the figure eight but split and reoriented so that each half of the under-pattern faces outward (instead of forming an internally complete whole). The paintings in this series more clearly invoke landscape as referent, but they too remain a kind of portraiture, with the remembered or imagined landscape acting out the interplay between self and other, and between self and self. Though doubling is present in both series through the underpainted texture and often through surface content, Frerichs presents not duality but dialogue, opening space for multiple voices and levels of experience.
Christine Frerichs lives and works in Los Angeles, has exhibited at ACME, CB1 Gallery, Kaycee Olsen Gallery, and Young Art in Los Angeles, Duchess Presents in Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson, among others, and was recently featured in a solo exhibition of work with gallery km at VOLTA NY, New York. Her work has been reviewed by ArtForum and The Los Angeles Times, and published in New American Paintings. She received her M.F.A. from U.C. Riverside in 2009, has taught at U.C. Riverside and U.C. Irvine, and is currently Senior Lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design and Adjunct Faculty at East Los Angeles College.