the art of french painter bernard frize 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 allow surprising 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 immediacy.

‘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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