Klowden Mann is very pleased to present Beacon, a solo exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by Los Angeles-based artist Christine Frerichs. The show is Frerichs’ third with the gallery, and continues her focus on color, light and landscape as emotional and aesthetic conveyers of meaning. Working from memory, imagination and observation, Frerichs creates abstracted landscapes and symbolic portraits noted for their densely-layered oil and wax surfaces, complex use of color and value, and rhythmic brushstroke. The main gallery space will be focused around Frerichs’ canvas works, while the gallery project room will feature a series of abstract wax drawings on paper. The exhibition will be on view from March 11th through April 15th, 2017, with an Opening Reception on Saturday, March 11th from 6 to 8pm, and an Artist Talk on Saturday March 25th, at 4pm.
Beacon results from Frerichs' conceptual and sensorial investigation into subjects such as the sea, the sky, and music. In many ways a continuation of her most recent body of work, the paintings in the exhibition reference the light and atmosphere of places with emotional significance for Frerichs—Los Angeles, Tucson, and New York. “Beacon" depicts the view from Frerichs’ seventh story studio window, with an emanating sun high in the sky, surrounded by densely textured clouds. Both “Beacon" and “Wet Moon, Clear Path (Tucson)” use pyramidal compositions with the light source at the top, reflecting Frerichs’ reverence for High Renaissance art and her investment in imparting a sense of both stability and movement, as well as harmony and balance in her work.
The theme of light carries throughout this body of work; formally, light provides a visually stimulating focal point, while conceptually, Frerichs’ use of light refers to consciousness, or a sentient state of being. While the overall impression of the work is the observation of light and atmosphere in nature, portions of the images are pushed into abstraction. The largest work in the exhibition at nearly 8 by 10 feet, "Bright Mist (Montauk)" describes low rolling waves at the edge of the sea. When looking to the upper half of the painting, the viewer enters a densely painted surface of cool blue, grey and white, flecked with aluminum leaf. Like Early Modernist painters Arthur Dove and Georgia O’Keeffe, who have been influential on Frerichs’ practice, these paintings depict both a place and the experience of a place. In this instance, they also impart the sensation of Frerichs’ process of making; developing slowly over time with deliberate and intentional mark making. Each painting offers the tension between stillness and complexity, vulnerability and control that has always been central to Frerichs’ work. The integration of abstract/symbolic and representational/natural elements allows each piece to become both a diagram and an experience of sense, event, place, and the physical body.
Several paintings in the exhibition appear more abstract, and are based upon sensory experiences of music or sound. “Silent Night” and “Dove Song" each use deep blues and lavender, pale pinks and lemon yellow to describe feelings of joy and serenity. Along with rich color, lightness and darkness, the cadence of the brushstrokes produces a visual vibration and reflect the experience of each song. A secondary compositional form seen throughout many of the works in the exhibition is a subtle impression of the human figure, seen as a curved ‘figure 8’ pattern. Frerichs inserts this abstracted bodily form into each landscape or abstract ‘sound space’, to express the presence and energy of a single person, or a couple in the case of paired canvas works.
The smaller works on paper in the gallery project room offer a counterpoint to the immersive color-flecked landscapes Frerichs presents in the main space. These six carved wax drawings are a meditation on lightness and darkness, both visually and conceptually. Here Frerichs presents her abstracted figure 8 body form as the main subject, transforming over the course of the six drawings from a dark graphite covered form into a glowing peach light. This body form becomes increasingly illuminated from within, reminiscent of a light bulb, or growing fire, and again returning to the theme throughout the exhibition of light as aliveness.
Christine Frerichs (b. 1979, Los Angeles) has exhibited at Klowden Mann, ACME, CB1 Gallery, Kaycee Olsen Gallery, and Young Art in Los Angeles, Duchess Presents in Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson, and Kevin Kavanagh Gallery among others. Her work has been reviewed by ArtForum and The Los Angeles Times, and published in New American Paintings. She received her MFA from UC Riverside in 2009, and has taught at UC Riverside, UC Irvine, and is currently Senior Lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design and Assistant Professor at East Los Angeles College. Her work is held in national and international private collections.