Architectural and intimate, weighty and delicate, Israeli-born, New York-based Zipora Fried’s works evidence the hand as a primary vehicle for creation as well as the potential instrument for its negation. Fried’s meticulous drawings and sculptures carry sumptuous gestures of simplicity and a hidden desire for flamboyance. A singular process is evident in all of Fried’s work, in which the potential of familiar forms is intensified. Each object is fundamentally altered through a simple gesture, often to excessive extremes.
Fried is best known for her monumental graphite drawings. These large-scale works on paper, sometimes 30 feet long, are dense compositions with strong and powerful markings repeated over the entire surface that intensify the potential of monochromatic form. Although Fried’s process of mark making is analogous to handwriting, these simply drawn lines refuse language or representation, referencing only the passage of time. The burden of time and the weight of the raw graphite are clearly visible in the completed works. For this exhibition, Fried will include large scale installations of drawings; as well as new experiments with color, in which intensely-colored blue pencil is used to create the same dense patterns as in her signature graphite works.
Fried will also present a new body of related sculptures in which the artist re-visits deconstructive play as seen in her early video works. Using familiar forms — idiosyncratic obsessions transformed into issues of broader relevance—each piece has its own inward design beyond its materiality and outward perception. Conventional objects are obscured, covered up, modified, and display new identities. Characterized by the absence of the human subject, these new pieces carry sumptuous gestures of simplicity and a hidden desire for flamboyance that nonetheless elicit a strangely emotional response from viewers.
While featuring work from several ongoing series, the exhibition highlights a singular process evident in all of Fried’s work, in which the potential of familiar forms is intensified. Each object is fundamentally altered through a simple gesture, often to excessive extremes, where entire surfaces are defaced to disturbing and poignant affect. In Armoire (2007), more than a hundred knives have been thrust into the backside of a wardrobe with the façade left intact. The sardonic humor persists in Secrets (2007), in which ski masks are altered and sewn shut with decorative black crochet. The metaphor for sensory obstruction is also evident in Notes (2007), which like many of Fried works, renders language as objects. Here, several books line a shelf that upon closer inspection reveals how each line of text has been carefully and deliberately crossed out. Notes were Fried’s earliest works in sculpture, and relate most visibly to the graphite drawings. Chère Maman (2007) and Romulus and Remus (2007) take respite in their physical and allegorical beauty, balancing interrelated works that challenge with more antagonistic acts of defacement.
In its entirety, this exhibition is devoid of figuration or language; yet paradoxically, the works are laden with evidence of memories, emotions and gestures that are symbolic and subjective in nature.