For decades Terri Friedman has investigated abstract painting through a variety of means including kinetic sculptural installations and luminescent works on sheets of plexiglass, yet in recent years the artist has delved fully into weaving, creating incredible works rich in texture, color, content and the rich history of the medium.
The artist’s most recent body of work, The Smell of Gasoline, was made amidst and in response to the incendiary climate that followed the 2016 election, all the while being met with a mixture of emotions following the passing of a close friend.
These dizzyingly complex weavings channel the anxieties stemming from our current political turmoil, employing the timeless technology of the loom to mediate the existential dread and essential optimism that are poles of contemporary survival.
Friedman at times began to introduce the urgent language of protest signs: “SOS”, “awake”, “wrong way”; meditations on this type of immediacy through the long-form intentionality of a weaving. The process’ allusion to a “social fabric” is a connection the artist fully embraces, inviting the awkward and unhinged tensions as natural fibers and colors are placed next to those of a mass-produced artificial variety.
As the artist puts it, “color can mirror the insanity and unraveling we are feeling. Color is both confrontational and comforting … The yarn paintings are patchworks of words, color, and abstraction, and ultimately they are memorials of light coming through loss or even danger.”