From Figurative to Abstract to Landscape and Back Again
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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