Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to present My Generation, Joanne Freeman’s second solo show with the gallery. Joanne Freeman has been feeling nostalgic. Noticing the parallels between the current political climate and the nature of the 1960s and ‘70s when she grew up, she has been interrogating the aesthetics and societal attitudes of that era in her latest work. When protest and rebellion dominated the culture and traditional institutions were under attack, music and art signaled your identity more than ever before. However, as Freeman began her education, the notions of important art were limited to the male and Western perspectives. As her own artistic identity formed, it developed as a reaction against that lineage. Female attributes and aesthetics became a choice, rather than a burden.
Freeman’s paintings incorporate elements found in architecture, design, popular culture, and art history. Her reductive compositions and pure color mimic the low-tech graphics utilized in mid-century media, and allude to color field paintings of the 1960s. Masking her forms out beforehand gives her paintings a stencil-like feel, a nod to the printmaking techniques that were also popular at the time, as well as Matisse’s cut outs. Her saturated colors in gouache and oil paint are absorbed by the handmade paper and canvas, enhancing the modernist flatness of her forms and use of space. The interplay of figure and ground is heightened by the stark contrast of color and white negative space.
Often working in singular color, some of her latest pieces have a shock of a carefully considered secondary color. Those that are just a few shades removed from the dominating hue may not reveal themselves until a second glance. There is a power in her pared down vocabulary as she explores the boundaries of minimalism, and how they can be pushed. Joanne Freeman has exhibited in galleries around the United States, along with The Queens Museum, The Painting Center, and the Cape Cod Museum of Art. She has her M.A in Studio Art from New York University, and lives and works in New York City.