On Friday of this week, the Academy Art Museum will be having a special moment. That evening, the supporters and friends of the museum will be gathering to celebrate an inaugural site-specific artist commission for the Museum’s newly-renovated Tricia and Frank Saul Atrium Galleries. And they could not have selected a better artist for this ooociain that Baltimore-based artist Zoe Friedman.
Drawing on her recent experience of becoming a mother, Friedman has created an immersive and layered universe of flora and fauna that explores the exuberant yet mysterious forces of life. Combining drawing, illustration, hand-cut paper, digital illustration and bespoke lighting elements, Friedman’s process mirrors the simultaneous joy and complexity of existence and invites the viewer to reflect on birth and growth.
In Friedman’s work, the playful, large-scale animal forms and the overlapping bold colors and patterns framing them beckon a heightened form of sentience. Illuminated by lighting elements of the artist’s own design, the installation is a portal into Friedman’s mythology of motherhood, in which she explores the instinct and power to care, nourish and grow. The large scale of each mural within the installation conveys the artist’s understanding of love as an expansive, forceful and overwhelming emotion. Much like a forest, the individual characters and forms in Friedman’s cast are connected and form a wondrous narrative.
The Spy spent some time recently with Zoe to talk about her work and her passion for making “big things” so her audience can be immersed is this fantastical forest.
This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about the Zoe Friedman: Sentient Forest exhibition please go here. It will be on display until August 31, 2022. The reception will be held of November 5, 2021 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.