We know and love Philip Frey for his interesting and distinct landscape work. He has a way of looking at Maine and all her beauty with an eye for detail and color. However, his latest work also holds a variety of figurative works and interiors.
“I have a need to explore and discover and stretch my limits as a painter. Cityscapes, abstracts and figuratives are a way for me to do that,” says Frey. “I often wonder how this effects my landscapes. I believe it influences in a positive way. Working with pure abstraction helps me break down what composition could be. In turn, my landscape composition has become more dynamic.”
Stretching as an artist becomes more and more important. Looking for that continued opportunity for growth is how an artist develops. Philip’s exhibition with The University of Maine Museum of Art is one such opportunity.
“I don’t think I would have done this kind of show in a gallery. Normally, I don’t blend representational and abstract work together. I usually present a more consistent body of work,” says Frey. “This collection is work that has happened over the years. Parallels is about the color, light and movement. These are what bind the work together.”
With over two-hundred people at the opening, Philip was interested to see the reactions from people. The feedback was positive, and Frey actually found it to be fun.
“About a year-and-a-half in the making, I set aside work as I painted for galleries. I pulled pieces out that made sense in this exhibition. The timeline was much longer than a normal gallery show. There was no rush,” says Frey with a smile. “George Kinghorn, the curator of the show, made a few studio visits and helped me to hone in on what made sense.”
Frey’s exhibition, Parallels, at the University of Maine Museum of Art will run through the end of the year. Collectors both old and new will find this display of work both interesting and beautiful.
Like any artist, the ‘what now’ kicks in after the hustle and bustle of putting such a collection together.
“I am headed to London this fall. Museum visits and playing tourist is all that is on the docket for about a week. When I was in college, I went to London and saw the Turners. They had a significant impact,” says Frey. “I am always learning. Other artists’ work that I admire, though not always conscious, comes out in my own. Brushwork and colors used inspire me.” Philip has a particular interest in The National Gallery and the Beyond Caravaggio exhibit. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was a serious influence on Frey in his early life.
“This winter I may go off into a warmer climate. Maybe Colorado will help me find some sunshine,” says Philip. “Normally, winter is filled with studio time during the day. I also love snowshoeing and skiing. I have many friends who all stick around for winter, and we get together on a regular basis.”
Looking at residencies for the future is also on Philip’s mind. “I like to illicit more active feedback from my peers. Having conversations about my work and their work is so important. I did a residency in 2012. It was very fruitful. There are a couple I may apply for next year,” says Frey. “It’s just a place to escape with like-minded people. Though I attend as an individual, I leave with a good cohort of artists and friends.”
Last, but certainly not least on Frey’s to do list, is a piece celebrating our 20th Anniversary, as well as his August show at Maine Art Shows. From August 12 through Labor Day, Philip Frey, Margaret Gerding and Ellen Welch Granter will be having a three-week long show.
“I have already started to think about it. Even though the ideas are not fully formed,” says Philip. “I am sure there will be a continuation of looking at light more and more closely. I enjoy how it works in my paintings, and I am continually exploring how I can express it in a more dynamic way.”To read more about Philip Frey and his work at Maine Art Gallery follow this link; Stories and Insights from Philip Frey. To see his entire collection of work at Maine Art, follow this link; Philip Frey: Artist Page.
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Often times specific events happen in our lives to bring us a clearer perspective on our world as a whole. The meaning hiding behind and inside these moments is not always realized immediately, but eventually a ‘why’ is discovered. Artist Philip Frey is in tune with his world. He has a firm grasp on what he believes and who he is. For him, it was one of these moments that brought out this piece of work and a deeper look into this short life and what is most important.
“My dear friend Kiki recently passed away. Changing Light was influenced strongly by her. I had been meaning to paint this space for some time. Now I do it to honor her,” says Frey. “It is not in a sad way, but as a reminder to appreciate what I have. I need to keep things simple, and in some kind of cheerful priority look at what’s most important. I’m looking closer at how to organize and prioritize my painting, which is my work and my life, so they fit well and serve me better.”
When thinking about the structure of a painting, the formal issues of what works and what doesn’t, color relationships and surface and textural qualities are important. “My work begins with a feeling, a connection, to my everyday experiences,” says Frey, “an evocative color, unexpected light or a fleeting gesture.” For Philip, perceptions are the inspiration, but the act of painting is the real juice behind his work. “I do not attempt to capture a moment or a scene, rather I work with the inspiration as a means to experience the present moment.”
The formal elements; deliberate quick or slow brushstrokes, color dynamics, spatial relationships and the surface qualities of the paint, are his stock-in-trade. But when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, Frey feels when a painting is going well. “There is an unexplainable sense of being in the groove – an experience of being present and aware of the process.” He acknowledges that many artists, writers, musicians and athletes experience this state of being. It is where one is not overtly thinking about what came before or what is to come. “Essentially, in those carefree moments, there is ‘no painter’ and ‘no painting’. Yet, wondrously, a painting comes forth,” he says. “In that way, I have no agenda, nothing I want to tell you or make you see, other than the joyful process and its ripened fruit.”
Fairfield Porter, an American painter and art critic, speaks about the connection between art, artist and audience. He believes that as humans we connect ourselves to everything. In this case, not just the painting, but also the process of the painting. The person who looks at a piece of art gets it vicariously. Frey agrees with this philosophy.
“When you put it all together, it becomes clear that I am interested in evoking the essence of appearances and my experiences in an abstract realist manner,” says Frey. “There are definitely specific formal concerns and many artistic influences spanning a lifetime, but I don’t want to say too much about those, lest I spoil the mystery and magic.”
Philip Frey’s mystery and magic is found in every piece of his work. Though his subjects vary, this does not. Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture has a large collection of Frey’s work in our main gallery on 14 Western Ave. However, Changing Light, along with two others, are part of the Choice Art Show at Maine Art Shows, 10 Chase Hill in Kennebunk. This show will be running until June 30th.
We welcome you to come and visit both galleries and experience Philip’s work first hand. If this is not possible, please check out his Artist Page on our website. We have also posted several insightful pieces about Philip and his work on our blog. Click here to read more.
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Like so many artists, giving back and sharing skills and knowledge found its way into Philip Frey’s life. Aristotle said, “Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.” Not only did he teach students at the high school level, but Philip was just crazy enough to take on the role of the K-8 art teacher on Swan’s Island right here in Maine. Teaching is still very much part of Philip’s world. He hosts various workshops and classes for children and adults throughout the year.
He wasn’t always lucky enough to find work in his field. However, working with his hands and creating seems to be a common theme in his past and present. “I worked on an organic farm, spent some time doing carpentry work and like so many other artists, found odd jobs to keep busy,” says Frey. He also spent a bit of time in a few framing galleries.
Apparently, those skills have served him well. Having been fortunate enough to wander through Philip’s studio, the discovery of a small woodworking shop in the back was a pleasant surprise. Philip often designs and frames many of his own pieces. In addition, he has left his mark on the wonderful little house which sits adjacent to his studio space. The entire property has the look and feel of an artist’s sanctuary.
This “feel” didn’t just happen. Philip has spent many years studying Buddhist philosophy, epistemology, psychology and mindfulness meditation. The sense of peace Philip has created is proof of his studies. “Hiking, walking and mindfulness meditation keep me grounded,” says Frey. Even talking with Philip brings a sense of this same calm. We always look forward to his visits to the gallery.
Its hard not to wonder where someone so inspired has found his own motivation and guidance. For Philip, it is the people who surround him, both in and out of the art world. “My dear parents, Jim and Mickey,” says Philip before giving credit to any others. “I also have close friends, Bill and Jane, and of course, Ken Mike, my high school art teacher,” he continues. “Maine artist, Alan Bray is amazing. Fairfield Porter’s and Eve Mansdorf’s works and writings continue to inspire me.” The thoughtful look that is such a part of Philip’s charm tells me he has many more, but he limits his list with a smile.
Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture has a wonderful collection of Philip Frey’s work in the gallery at 14 Western Ave. In June, you will also be able to see a few of his new pieces in the Choice Art Show up on Chase Hill at Maine Art Shows. If you can’t make it for a visit, please visit his Artist Page, and click here to see other posts that feature Philip and his work.
Voting for the Choice Art Show will begin on May 2 at www.maine-art.com/choice.
In Philip’s New Works show at Maine Art Shows in Kennebunk, there are a few pieces featuring children at play that connect to each other. Inspired by time at the dock on Cranberry Island a few years ago, In the Moment, Double Cannon ball, Diver and Tandem celebrate summer the way Maine children have for decades… by simply playing outside.
We have all seen them – these ‘free-range’ children. Some of us were even lucky enough to have been one. They are the children who head out the door with bathing suits on underneath their clothes on a bicycle that used to belong to someone else. They are the children who, when the first light of day breaks, “go play” until summoned home for a meal, or more likely, bed-time. They are the children of Maine.
Philip was able to spend countless hours watching this phenomenon during his Heliker-LaHotan Foundation Residency. No iPads, no cell phones, no PlayStations. Just sunshine and summer. Capturing these moments on film, as well as in small studies, Frey found the magic. Working en plein air is difficult. “There is an immediacy when painting outside,” says Frey. “My paintings sometimes begin with drawings, plein air oil sketches or photographs that become the basis of larger studio works. Exploring different subjects through a series of work allows me to investigate various color palettes, compositions and paint handling within those parameters.”
These pieces will be on display until July 16th at Maine Art Shows, 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk. As in all things, being there is the best way to take in the wonder that this work holds. However, they can be viewed in the on-line show at Philip Frey, New Works, or on his Artist Page on Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture’s website.
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When speaking with Philip about this show, some specific pieces of work, and how he moves through the creation of his work, he paraphrased Jackson Pollack. “It’s about the paint and the process, it’s not about the artist.” He may have been referring to something very specific, comparing his style to Pollack’s, but the phrasing rang true for Philip as an artist. For him, it is not about the end result or the name on the catalogue, it’s about watching the magic that happens with a brush stroke; creating movement with a sweep of color and bringing the canvas to life with a talent he knows he is fortunate to have. As we interact more and more with Philip Frey’s collectors and friends, one theme rings true. Not only are they happy for the success of the show, but they are happy for the success of Philip, himself. “He is a great man, as well as great artist.”
Many have also commented on the “change” in Philip’s work. Frey attributes the strength and growth seen in his show, New Works, to time spent at the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation Residency on Cranberry Island in 2012. His residency was a few years ago, but it changed not only his final products, but his process. He comments on this during our interview.
One of the most remarkable changes is what Frey calls, “incidental marks.” These marks happen with the “throwing” of paint that might occur throughout the painting process to fold in texture, direction and a sense of spontaneity. “It gives a sense of movement,” says Philip. “It’s a throwback to when I worked with watercolor.” He refers to Japanese watercolor and calligraphy and the looseness of the brush. Watch the video below to hear it from Philip himself.
If you haven’t had a chance to come by 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk to view Philip Frey’s New Works show, consider this an invitation. The show will be on display until July 16th. He has additional pieces at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk, as well. You can also see his work online by clicking the SHOWS link, as well as his entire collection on his Artist Page.
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To uncover the secrets and stories behind a piece of art is one thing; to discover the physical secrets hidden underneath the paint is quite another.
Usually, for Philip Frey, the beginning of beautiful starts with venetian red. A background color he washes on, rubs off, and then proceeds to hide beneath the layers of oil paint we see on the surface of his work. By the time his end result is achieved only wisps and fragments of the stunning color peek through, but this first step is an integral part of his process.
This is not the only secret he conceals below the finish of his work. Recently Philip pulled out a series of abstract panels he created a while back. At the time he wasn’t satisfied with them. These panels covered in Raymar linen held blocky abstracts of scenes captured in just a few moments. In them Frey found inspiration for several of his smaller pieces that grace the walls at Maine Art Shows. By applying more detail, more color, more “Frey” he was able to create pieces like the one below. Who knew covering up could expose such beauty.
While visiting we were able to witness Philip “peel back” one of these painting. He shared some of the original panels similar to those he used in “Raining Clouds and Sun” and “Split” pictured above. The panels have to remain a secret, at least until his exhibition at the University of Maine Museum of Art next spring. Yet we were lucky enough to listen to him walk through a bit of what happened as he developed quick studies into fabulous abstracts worthy of his New Works show. Below is a small video clip of Philip discussing this process with us.
This “painting behind the painting” is new for Frey. “I think of Philip as one of our most creative in terms of always trying to step outside of his boundaries to try new things. It is how we learn and how we expand our knowledge,” says John Spain, owner of Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture.
There are so many secrets to discover when visiting with Philip Frey’s work. We welcome you to come and find them out for yourself. The show is running until July 16th at Maine Art Shows at 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk, or virtually at Philip Frey, New Works. Also, check out more of Philip’s work on his Artist Page at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture’s website.
On Saturday, June 27th, Philip Frey hosted the opening of his solo show, New Works, with Maine Art Shows. All three rooms of the gallery at 10 Chase Hill Road are filled with pieces Philip has created for this one-man show. This show will run until July 16th.
Philip lives in Sullivan, Maine in a lovely little house nestled in the woods just off the beaten path. His studio sits right next door with a short stone path connecting the two through the trees. He has surrounded himself with the solitude and woodsy beauty of Maine hidden minutes from the rugged coast of Acadia and Mount Desert Island. He has found the best of both worlds.
Over the years Frey has immersed himself in watercolor, acrylic, and oil; painting still life, figurative, and landscape. Yet the one constant throughout most of his work has been the inspiration Maine has given. Whether it’s the rough and rocky coastline or a group of young children celebrating summer on the dock, there is an outside presence of where we call home. It weaves its way through all medium and style to show off its charm and allure through Philip’s work.
Over the next few weeks we will offer ‘Behind the Scenes’ posts about Philip and his collection of work on Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture’s Blog. Individual paintings will be seen through his eyes and stories will be told through his voice as we take a closer look into the beautiful world of Philip Frey.
New Works will be at Maine Art Shows for the next three weeks. They are open every day from 11-5. If you can’t make it in for a visit, the online show. Philip also has more work on his Artist Page at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture or come into the gallery at 14 Western Avenue here in Kennebunk to see his complete collection.
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To begin with, “thank you” to all who came out for the opening of Philip Frey, New Works. From eleven yesterday morning until seven o’clock in the evening we enjoyed the company of so many wonderful people. Philip and the staff put in a long day at Maine Art Shows, but the time was well worth it. This was obvious when only an hour after opening a third of the pieces were boasting little red stickers. Philip Frey, New Works was an immediate success.
During an opening it is always interesting to eavesdrop on an artist with new clients. The passion and love for what they do is never as obvious as during these moments. With the quality and quantity of work in this show, Philip was kept busy answering questions and inquiries about particular pieces, as well as his process. Even discussions of place came into play. The love of Maine and her beautiful coast was shared by all who attended and often was the deciding factor in which piece to take home. Appreciation for a painting grew ten fold when both artist and patron were able to share memories of a place so perfectly captured on canvas.
Ten Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk is lucky enough to be the home for Philip’s new collection of work for the next three weeks. Maine Art Shows is open from 11am – 5pm every day and will happily show you around. If you can’t make it in by July 16th, please visit the show on-line, Philip Frey, New Works. Don’t forget Philip has additional work at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture down on 14 Western Ave in Kennebunk, and on his Artist Page, as well.
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Last week time was spent with Philip Frey at his home and in his studio. After seeing the artwork for his upcoming show first hand and listening to Philip’s stories, excited doesn’t begin to describe the emotion swirling around the opening of New Works. Even though the inside peek at many of the pieces happened during the visit, some pieces were wrapped for travel or leaning against easels waiting for that final approval. It just wasn’t the same. It’s time to see it all come together, in true Maine Art Show style.
Watching the staff at Maine Art Shows pick and choose what goes where, and next to what, and in which room is crazy. How do they decide? Amy and Natalie make it look easy, but it takes hours of hard work, arranging and rearranging to make “New Work” come to life. As a result by mid-afternoon on Friday, the gallery on the first floor of 10 Chase Hill Road is finally quiet…and without a doubt, absolutely perfect.
It is definitely a treat to wander through the rooms with nothing but silence to critique the work. Time is undisturbed as the memories and visions of Philip Frey spill into each room. Views of Acadia National Park and Schoodic Peninsula, abstracts of water and sky, and children captured in play complete the celebration of summer.
Please come and join Philip, his New Works, and Maine Arts Shows in this celebration. The gallery is open from 11-5 every day starting Saturday, June 27th through Thursday, July 16th at Maine Art Shows at 10 Chase Hill in Kennebunk. You can also visit virtually at Philip Frey, New Works. Be sure to check out the rest of Philip’s work at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture or virtually on his Artist Page.
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Before we start in on what today brings, we have to give a huge Thank You! to a few folks for last night. First off, One Dock Prime rocked it! What a perfect way to start of this week. After cocktails we were lucky enough to spend the evening in Jay and Erica Knudsen’s home with a crazy group of wonderful people. Artist Jill Valliere, Sponsor Tom LaPierre from LaPierre Stone, Maine Media Collective’s Emily McConnell, and of course the fabulous Chef Cara Stadler from Tao Yuan, thank you so much. Kudos to everyone involved in the Kennebunkport Festival, last night was amazing.
Today’s calendar of events is just as crazy and just as wonderful as yesterday’s. And, of course, Maine Art Painting and Sculpture will be celebrating the best of it. Our artists, David Witbeck, Ellen Welch Granter, Henry Isaacs, Jeffrey T. Fitzgerald, and Philip Frey are all having artwork delivered as we speak to the homes hosting dinners tonight and they will be in on the festivities tonight, as well.
Everything begins at the Colony Resort at 140 Ocean Ave in Kennebunkport for cocktails around 5pm. John and the artists will be milling around enjoying all the wonderful treats the Colony has to offer, and listening to the wonders of Dominic Lavoie, a Portland area musician. It is sure to be a perfect way to kick off the second night of the Art of Dining. There are still a few tickets available at the Kennebunkport Festival website.
Tonight you will find David Witbeck and his collection of fun and interesting Maine characters at the home of the Raffaellis, whom have graciously opened their home yet again this year. Chef Harding Lee Smith from The Rooms will be joining them. The Rooms, refers to several of Smith’s Portland restaurants. All of which are worth a visit if you are in Portland. This is sure to be a dinner to remember.
Ellen Welch Granter and some of her new work will be found at the Turner/Bull residence tonight. Chef Jeff Buerhaus of Walters will be wooing the guests with his Asian, Mediterranean and Caribbean inspired menu. This is a lucky crowd to be feasting on such fabulous artwork and food all in one beautiful place.
Dinner at the Hurlbutts’ is sure to be one of the highlights of the Festival again this year. They were gracious enough to open their home to both artist Henry Isaacs and Chef Guy Hernandez of Lolita. Henry will be sharing some of his best and newest pieces from the Choice Art Show and Guy will be offering up the flavors, traditions, and simplicity of the Mediterranean cuisine from his restaurant on Munjoy Hill in Portland. Everyone will be very well taken care of at the Hurlbutts’ tonight.
The stunning artwork of Jeffrey T. Fitzgerald graces the walls of the Taranto/Ellms home this evening. Fitzgerald will be joined by Chef Chris Wilcox of the Velveteen Habit in Cape Neddick. The Velveteen Habit is said to be a place that invokes, “…memories of family gatherings where food was made for comfort and nourishment and families gather together to share stories and make memories.” A few more memories will be made tonight thanks to all involved with making this dinner happen.
Even though Philip Frey isn’t a Choice Art Show artist, he is one of Maine Arts Paintings and Scultpure’s featured artists this summer. He also loves a good time for a great cause and is happy to be a part of the Art of Dining party at the Rice home. Chef Emil Rivera of Sur Lie on Free Street in Portland is the second half of the talent joining this gathering. While Frey will be sharing pieces from his extensive collection, Chef Rivera will be sharing the progressive and delectable plates and snacks from the cool new restaurant that is rocking Portland.
The Philip Frey Show, New Works, will start June 27th at Maine Art Shows and run to July 16th.
Well…that is what we are eating tonight.
Then its on to the After Party!
Stripers at 133 Ocean Ave., right here in Kennebunk, is hosting this complimentary event starting at 9pm. It will be a great way to work off some of this food! Todd the Rocket will be our DJ and Maine Art will be there to celebrate the end of another successful day of the Kennebunkport Festival. Come wrap up the night with us – you can sleep next week!
Remember to stop in at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture as you wander around Kennebunkport, or visit us on line at maine-art.com.