Harper’s is pleased to announce Getting Somewhere, a solo presentation of twelve new works on canvas by Sam Friedman at Harper's Chelsea 534. Continuing Friedman's approach of creating abstract landscapes through meticulously layered compositions, the exhibition explores how the formal attributes of painting produce altered atmospheres. Getting Somewhere opens on Thursday, October 14, 6–8pm, with a reception attended by the artist.
Filling the walls of Harper’s intimate gallery space on 22nd Street with three tondos, three expansive canvases, and a sizable grid of six cave paintings, Friedman’s installation taps into the immersive quality of his work. With a vibrant palette and soft-focus aesthetic, his meditative images recall scenes of boundless vistas, rolling cloudscapes at twilight, or illuminated subterranean spaces. Building on the genre of color field painting with a 21st-century sensibility, Friedman’s practice embodies the way our daily engagement with screens has increasingly shaped visual perception. Mimicking how compressed digital images and videos render large swaths of color, his surfaces consist of multiplying curvilinear bands of chroma that subtly shift in hue. Rich violets gently transition into flush pink tones while faint yellows gradually progress into warm peach tinges. From afar, the colors seamlessly meld into each other; yet upon closer inspection, delineated paths of pigment reveal themselves as separate strokes that build off each other, creating the illusion of optical vibrations.
While televisions, computers, and smart devices are vessels for endless streams of content, Friedman’s painterly exercises act as a balm by stripping away these excesses. He invites us to take pleasure in the ambient presence of the objects themselves, to simply admire the formal characteristics of painting. This minimalist approach engenders a transformative effect on the viewer’s field of vision and surroundings. Friedman’s colors absorb and refract light, producing an ethereal glow that encourages contemplative participation. Getting Somewhere suggests that the final destination is not necessarily a physical location, but rather a deeper exploration into the nature of visceral experience in our digital age.
Sam Friedman (b. 1984, Oneonta, NY) received a BFA from Pratt Institute in 2006. Most recently, his work has been the subject of solo presentations at Gana Art Nineone, Seoul, KR (forthcoming 2022); Harper’s, New York, NY (2021); Library Street Collective, Detroit, MI (2021, 2017, and 2014); Dio Horia, Athens and Mykonos, GR (2020 and 2019); and Over the Influence, Hong Kong, CN (2018). Friedman is represented by Library Street Collective; he currently lives and works in Pleasant Valley, NY.