Friday, January 14, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Angelo Arnold and Peter Fried at Helen Day Art Center in Stowe

Angelo Arnold & Peter Fried: Vermont artists Angelo Arnold and Peter Fried reflect on manufactured domestic and outdoor landscapes at Helen Day Art Center in the East Gallery.

Exhibition runs January 21-February 27, 2011
Opening Reception Friday, January 21, 6:00 pm
Artist Talk Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Gallery Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 12-5pm and by appointment

Angelo Arnold, Familiarture: Arnold’s use of upholstery on forms that are reminiscent of furniture bridge a gap between art and viewer. Who is not attracted to an overstuffed chair? Of course, once the viewer approaches and examines Arnold’s sculptures, mild discomfort sets in. These living-room pieces are disfigured, contorted, gestural, shaped, contoured and... beautiful. Do they function? can they support a sitting or reclining human? Well, yes and no. Arnold makes sculpture, I mean furniture, er... “Familiarture” for the way we really are. A wall mounted stuffed cushion is perfect for leaning at a 17 degree angle, but you cannot sit on it. A tall backed armchair crosses its arms and its cushion breaks into two staggered thighs. You are not welcome here.

In some cases Arnold’s work is about the frustration of a human being stifled by the insufficient design of our surroundings, other times the work is almost narrative in its posture, texture and use of space. What created that emotion? Who knew that furniture had memory? Really, though, it is Arnold whose memory we enter. His choices of stature, design, materials and pose lead us to a lively mind with some dark memories, a sense of humor and an irreverence for the status quo.

Peter Fried: Inspired by English and French 19th century landscape painters, and by Agnes Martin, Peter Fried is engaged in a unique cataloguing of the landscape. Like Atget in Paris, Fried is applying his tools to what he finds. He makes beautiful, carefully composed, paintings in a muted palette with little concern for whether or not the subject can be considered “aesthetic”.

At times working en plein aire, at times in the studio, Fried often sketches the scene in paint, obliterates it with an abstract, powerful layer, and then slowly rebuilds the original landscape over the abstraction. The resulting painting retains the viewer’s eye for a longer visit, held by the barely perceptible tension from the abstraction bleeding through the carefully crafted final landscape.

Fried is interested in abstractions in everyday life and plans to show us, too. He is looking long and hard at our environment, the transition from city to country, the marks made by highways, railcars, tractor trailers and so on, especially when these are thrust up next to the organic shapes of the land. A road sign is a sign, yes, but it is also a glorious green quadrilateral thrust into our view of the countryside. What of it? Well, come and see for yourself. It’s quite something. Agnes Martin would be proud.

Angelo Arnold, Loved Seat, mixed media sculpture
Peter Fried: Untitled (Exit sign), 2010 oil on canvas