American artist Sam Friedman has been producing art in Brooklyn, New York, for the last decade. Tending to reflect the natural world, his work is simultaneously loose and precise. Friedman moves between representational and abstract depictions with seeming ease and spontaneity. His earliest “beach paintings”, completed in 2008, originated from his experience of walking towards the sunset during an oncoming storm. This personal encounter of induced visual clarity prompted in the artist’s mind the precise image for a fully formed painting that incorporated the language he had been developing in his earlier abstract work. This focus has occupied the most of his explorations then, resulting in a body of work that continuously breakdown and rebuild a natural landscape.
In her essay for ‘Territories Unexplored’, Monica Ramirez-Montagut explains:
“For Friedman, abstract art captures motion and emotion more than capturing the image of a thing. The intensity and direction of one swooping line in his work, he explains, may bring to mind the arm-stroke of a swimmer or the idea of something flying: 'Everyone is going to have a connotation for a particular visual thing because, as humans, we are going to look for those connections…we always look for connections…that is why I start all my paintings again and again.'”
Born in 1984 in Oneonta, New York, Friedman spent his childhood by-passing the real world and resorting to daydreaming and drawing. At eighteen, upon graduating from high school, he moved to Brooklyn to study commercial art at The Pratt Art Institute. Following four years of illustration and typography studies, he earned his livelihood by realizing commercial artwork for companies and publications such as Nike and The New York Times. Nevertheless, during that period, his personal practice focused on painting. Eventually, he decided to move on from commercial affairs and engage in activities with other artists, which would ultimately contribute to his art. Taking advantage of his applied art beginnings, Friedman has embraced techniques, traditions, tools and materials of commercial art trades. While negotiating their incorporation in proper artworks, Friedman uses these skills as an initial basis to freely compose visually striking works. He finds inspiration in other great artists with similar approach such as De Kooning, Leger, Lichtenstein, Lewitt, and Westermann.
Opening Photos: “American Bloom” and “Happy Place” (January 22, 2015)
Juxtapoz Magazine Feature Sam Friedman’s “Happy Place” (January 15, 2015)