This is a bridge was conceived by the artist with his curatorial input, constructed not as a retrospective exhibition, nor as a display of new work, but as a cross-section of paintings made in the latter half of Bernard Frize’s career which brings to the fore resonances and connections between distinct bodies of work and investigates how the ideas running through these series connect, change and evolve.
Since the mid 1970s that Frize’s work has developed in series: a number of closely related paintings in which the parameters of a particular compositional syntax are set out and explored until they are, for him, exhausted. At that point of exhaustion the next set of conditions reveals itself. Frize has also consistently stated his belief in the ‘work’ of painting, in the artist’s project as the production of an image which is entirely one with the method and process of its making. For this exhibition he proposes to focus on four distinct series of works produced at different times over a period of 20 years. These series are distinguished by the differences in technique and aesthetic that one would expect given such a span of time, but they are also connected. The intention in bringing them together is to allow their connections to reveal the singularity of Frize’s artistic project; as the artist stated: “The paintings that have been chosen (so far) are united in being alien to my usual multi-coloured work. The collection shows latent images: it would be difficult either to identify a conventional motif or to find them totally abstract. The production of these works has been erratic and covers a long period of time; some happened in long series, others with only one example. All of them have been produced by very simple means; most of them with one colour, some two, more never being necessary. One layer was generally enough.”
The exhibition will be a Bridge between abstraction and figuration, nature and culture, photography and painting through a unique language and a precise vocabulary that is at the same time enigmatic and attractive to the senses.
Bernard Frize - This is a bridge
Modern Art Centre - Gulbenkian Foundation, February 13 - May 15