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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