27 November - 10 December 2020

Woaw in association with Library Street Collective is pleased to present Fantasy by Sam Friedman Popup Gallery.


“I have had a long-time affinity for Rockaway Beach. Many of my landscapes reference this closeness I have with the beach’s natural landscape, the colour and movement and joy I’ve experienced there. During this time of uncertainty around the world I find being able to enjoy the same freedoms I experienced at Rockaway Beach to feel like an otherworldly dream, a fantasy.” – Sam Friedman


Friedman moves between representational and abstract depictions with seeming ease and spontaneity.  In this exhibition his paintings explore the formal concerns of paint, tools and surfaces as they relate to the scale of the human body, and his narratives resist progressive plots; without a beginning or end, the works become infinite. For each piece he manifests, there are countless interpretations that do not become physical, yet remain in the artist’s mind with a boundlessness that resonates with the viewer. 


Friedman’s work is rooted in the tradition of American Abstract Expressionist painters who explored line, color, and the systematic application of paint. Within this heritage, Friedman examines methodical processes where repetition and self-imposed parameters lay the groundwork for his compositions but permit him the freedom to build each piece instinctively by hand. Rather than masking each successive gradient to create a manufactured finish, the artist premixes his colors and lays down line after line freehand, allowing imperfections to emerge. 


For the artist, this meditative and organic process is trans-figurative and carries through to the viewer’s experience of the works. Growing up in upstate New York - where he has since returned after years in the city - Friedman seeks the state of mind that he encounters within nature. Though the works have elemental and naturalistic qualities, they are built not by reference to the physical aspects of the outdoors, but by the flow and movement within nature to address questions about the practice of painting itself. Early in his career, the artist marks a pivotal time while walking towards the sunset at Rockaway Beach during a storm. This moment enlightened a visual sensory of colors and lines which he’s most known for today.