Painter and assemblage artist Kate Carvellas took a day trip to Chinatown, visiting Good Luck Gallery to see the latest exhibit, mixed media works by Andrew Frieder. She snapped pics of her favorite pieces, continued to take pictures as she walked around Chinatown, and now is using those images as inspiration for her next paintings.
We’re thankful she’s agreed to share her photographs with Hometown Pasadena as they’re an inspiration for us to go—walk, stroll, explore—and see, absorb, inhale, infuse, and be inspired…or simply refreshed.
“As with trepidation the nature of the work begins to show, there develops a respect for what has been accomplished and a caution to complete the project with the same emotion and feeling for consistency. The joy as the potential blossoms awes you and you fear for its full development. Then nearly complete there is pleasure just to be near the work, to smell the sap, to see the chisel mark shine in the light.” (Good Luck Gallery)
Reading the biography of Andrew Frieder (1959—2014) is a reminder that for many of us, creating art—or just the act of creating—has life-saving qualities. For artistic-minded folks, the need to create is like the need to breathe and ingest foodstuffs to survive—there’s no denying it. Without picking up that paintbrush or putting one’s hand to clay, or grasping a pen and putting it to paper, we would not be able to survive this life. This sounds melodramatic, but for those with the “need,” they will understand, for those who don’t—fill in the blank according to attachment to said artist as co-worker in the ‘real’ world, peer, friend, foe, family, lover, child, stranger—we appreciate your tolerance, support, encouragement, and/or unconditional love. We couldn’t exist without what you give, just as we couldn’t remain ‘existing’ without the act of creating.
Andrew Frieder’s art-producing days played out in the unlikely location of Lancaster, California, “a town not known for its art scene.”
For several decades Frieder worked day and night, and since he didn’t try to bring his art into the public eye, and “in fact oddly avoided” attention, it wasn’t until his death that “the full range of his output was discovered,” which was “a massive archive of work.” Good Luck Gallery is currently representing the artist’s estate.
Frieder’s art education abruptly ended when he suffered a mental breakdown and the subsequent prognosis of schizophrenia was the illness with which he struggled for the rest of his life. Perhaps due to the “chaos and pain of his illness,” Frieder destroyed his art work—all of it—three times, as he did many finished novels. However during the two decades before his death, Frieder “experienced no episodes or hospitalizations, a healing process facilitated in no small party by deep immersion in his art.”
Andrew frequently depicted scenes from classical mythology and the Old Testament scriptures with which he was so conversant: figures wrestling with serpents, communing with skulls and struggling with rocks, as well as hybrid beasts of his own design.
A gentle and subtle coloration of soft pastel and muted earth tones distinguishes the work, sometimes scrawled upon with text (“Was it worth it? Vanquishing the serpent: Can it be done?”) and frequently pierced, perforated, sewn, glued and otherwise driven into aesthetic submission, resulting in a strangely harmonious combination of the visceral and meticulous. (Good Luck Gallery)
Besides his art, Frieder was something of a creative handyman and hobbyist inventor. He rebuilt and modified industrial sewing machines and “sewed intricate cotton quilts and constructed his own jaunty hats.” He repaired and made shoes. He could grind, weld, and machine is own tools, which were personally designed. He hunted for scrap iron, lumber, and objects for his projects and re-purposed whatever objects he could.
As well as a massive archive of artwork, Andrew also left behind many written accounts expressing an acute awareness of his own work and mental state, as well as rigorous and compassionate essays on history and religion; he cared deeply about political injustice and ruminated on his work as painstakingly as any professional artist.
“It is strange to think one is a candidate for immaculate conception. But I sit and wait for some spirit to combine with me and lead to product.”
The Andrew Frieder exhibit runs through August 29.
Good Luck Gallery, 945 Chung King Rd., L.A. 90012. Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m.; and by appointment. Tel.: 1.213.625.0935. GoodLuckGallery.com.
While visiting the exhibit, Pasadena artist Kate Carvellas took pictures of a couple of her favorites…
And finally, we follow Kate as she roams Chinatown, snapping shots of whatever catches her eye.
We, who know Carvellas’ art, eagerly await to see what inspiration she draws from these works, what impressions become expressions, inspiring her even as we write this…
To see and enjoy Kate’s assemblages and paintings, please visit…