Studio Visit with Adam Friedman
In the basement of his cozy Portland home, Adam Friedman explores the dynamics between nature and technology through a tireless and unique creative process. The area is modest but spacious and it spills into the storage/laundry facilities where most of the canvas prepping (stretching, building frames, etc.) takes place. When walking into the main studio room, I notice paint buckets gathered on the floor with a few being used as an impromptu easel. A bookshelf holds an assortment of spray cans, reference books, and other painter supplies such as tape and brushes. But of course, what's most interesting by far are the many walls displaying Adam's latest collection of work: 'Avalanche'.
As I check out the wonderful paintings, Adam discusses a recent visit to Iceland last Spring. It was a trip that profoundly influenced the direction of these pieces and in some respects, inspired him in ways he wasn't expecting. During his three week adventure, he and his wife Josephine explored Iceland's remote country side where at times they didn't see another human soul for days and therefore were heavily reliant on the technology they had on hand. One day, the couple were traveling along a narrow mountain pass when a harsh blizzard developed without warning, causing them to seriously wonder if this was how it was all going to end. Life-threatening blizzards aside, the trip was filled with unforgettable, majestic moments - days and nights spent roaming lush moss covered hills, or standing on top of glaciers, or soaking in geothermal hot springs while viewing the Aurora Borealis overhead.
These once in a lifetime events are evident in Adam's paintings. The palette is reminiscent of the Northern Lights, depicting hues of violet, blue, and green. The geometric backgrounds create an optical illusion and seem to dance, much like the Aurora Borealis itself. In one of the works, Adam captures a piercing blue that he discovered when venturing Iceland's glaciers. He explains how the sunlight penetrated the ice and bounced off the ocean water thereby reflecting an incredible blue tone. It was a color he never saw before and hasn't seen in nature since.
But it's not all icy lights and star dances. Drawing upon his dependance on technology during the trip, the imagery in Adam's latest work is presented so as to emulate a computer or television screen. The mountain ranges overlap one another and feel as though you could separate them with a single 'swipe'. Great detail is shown at the peeks and as you scan further down the mountain the brushstrokes become looser almost to the point of abstraction. Near the bottom of most of the pieces, a gradient of color streaks is duly noticeable, much like something you'd see from a malfunctioning TV screen.
Overall, the work is a stunning and thoughtful reflection of a Westerner's adventures in 'The Land of Fire and Ice'. For those not fortunate (or brave) enough to experience the wondrous and treacherous tundra of Iceland, 'Avalanche' brings you pretty darn close.
Adam Friedman's 'Avalanche' opens February 11th at Cordesa Fine Art, 941 E. 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA, www.cordesafineart.com