the art of french painter bernard frize
feb 06, 2009
the art of french painter bernard frize

the paintings of bernard frize use line in abstractions that
complexity in terms of colour, facture, width and intersection.
they stretch the definition of line.

‘resi’, 2008
courtesy galerie naechst st. stephan rosemarie schwarzwaelder

‘opa’, 2007
courtesy galerie emmanuel perrotin

since the end of the seventies, when painting was according to
many people as good as dead, frize was working consistently
on a body of work that seemed to reduce painting to its most pure
and trivial essence: the application of colour and of paint on a support.
although recognition of his work was a long time coming, he
succeeded in giving painting a new impulse and influencing
a whole generation of painters.

‘may 27′, 2007
courtesy galerie emmanuel perrotin

frize’s work has, for many years now, consistently yet without turning
into stale repetition, explored to great effect a highly specific visual
vocabulary. his works seem to be predicated upon the same visual
conceit: the interweaving of highly viscous brushstrokes within whose
final pattern the viewer becomes lost in their attempt to locate the origin
of gestures, the sophistication of which being at odds with their apparent

‘suit a onze nr. 14′, 2006
courtesy galerie emmanuel perrotin

‘insulaire K’, 2004
courtesy galerie naechst st. stephan rosemarie schwarzwaelde

‘croix’, 2005
courtesy galerie emmanuel perrotin

frize employs a highly choreographed method of painting that involves
three assistants. following a series of guide pencil marks, which are
incidentally left visible in the final piece, the brushstrokes are worked
over each other in an astounding feat of timing.

photo by marc wathieu

bernard frize (1949) lives and works in paris.

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