Love Songs — Sam Friedman

Press Release

Love Songs — Sam Friedman

Sam Friedman

Untitled, 2016
Acrylic and vinyl paints, silkscreen ink, and acrylic spray paint on primed Stonehenge paper; white frame and mat
54.5h x 37.75w in

Library Street Collective is pleased to announce LOVE SONGS, an exhibition of new works by Sam Friedman. LOVE SONGS displayed a collection of Friedman’s established stream-of-consciousness canvasses along with a set of over 30 paintings on paper that reconsider the artist’s early exploration of beach scenes, sunsets and landscapes.

Sam Friedman is known for moving between representational and abstract depictions with seeming ease and spontaneity. A pivotal moment in the artist’s work stems from an experience walking towards the sunset during an oncoming storm at Rockaway Beach early in his artistic career. This personal encounter of induced visual clarity manifested a phenomenon where he saw in his mind’s eye fully realized landscapes in vivid colors. He immediately got to work on his ‘beach paintings’—which started as works on paper—and have become his hallmark. It’s been years since Friedman has gone back to that place, and for LOVE SONGS has revisited that climactic occasion at its essence by re-examining every detail, right down to materials and processes. While his canvasses use a single type of paint and freehand technique, these works on paper utilize layering of spray paint, masking, and silkscreen; and each layer becomes a decision in a series of movements that lead to an instinctive result. In these, the artist finds inspiration in a variety of styles and cultures—from Japanese woodblock prints; to Ralph Fassanella’s complex cityscapes celebrating union workers in 1950s New York; to the subdued, placid sunsets Roy Lichtenstein cultivated at the end of his life.

Friedman is absorbed in the deconstruction and revision of natural landscapes, which he achieves through his use of line, pattern, texture, and bright color. After graduating from commercial art studies at The Pratt Institute, he worked freelance until settling in as an assistant in KAWS’ studio, where he spent 4 years acquiring technique and immersing himself in the tools and materials he would carry along with him. It may be surprising to hear that Friedman’s canvas works are done without any preparatory design, where a single freehand stroke on the surface will dictate each successive mark, “These paintings have more self-imposed parameters than the works on paper. While the paint is attempting to reach some level of perfection, the lines sit as perfectly or imperfectly as my hand allows. In this way, they avoid becoming mechanical.” He likens this sentiment to that of Wabi Sabi, which is a Japanese world view and consequent aesthetic that centers on the acceptance and transience of imperfection; a beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.

Install Images

Artwork Images

Sam Friedman — Sam Friedman

Sam Friedman

Untitled, 2016
Acrylic on canvas
30h x 90w in

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