Who: David Freed
Where: Reynolds Gallery, 1514 W. Main St.
When: Through June 13
Info: (804) 355-6553 or reynoldsgallery.com
Reynolds Gallery in Richmond's Fan District recently opened four new exhibitions including a one-man printmaking show by Richmond artist and former Virginia Commonwealth University professor David Freed.
Freed, whose career spans four decades, established the printmaking department at VCU (then Richmond Professional Institute) in 1966, adding an essential component to the school's art program, which is regarded as one of the best in the country.
"He's an institution," said Reynolds Gal-lery director Beverly Reynolds. "David is a printmaker of extraordinary talent, relevance and range. He has been an integral force within the faculty at VCU and has inspired countless art students in their work. His significance to the art of printmaking has made a lasting impact in our community and nationally."
The exhibition, Here and There, showcases new prints by Freed, all one-of-a-kind monotypes as opposed to editioned prints.
Freed, 72, said this is his first exhibition in Richmond in four years. Even so, he said, "The themes are the same that have interested me for a number of years - portraits of friends, my travels and the James River, which I visit virtually every day."
Freed's work is concise, revealing only what must be portrayed to accurately convey his subjects. That holds true for his landscapes, which, Reynolds said, "resonate with immediacy." She calls them "free and airy abstractions" that suggest reality rather than strictly adhering to it, with the energy of weather, nature and humanity resonating across the paper.
After his visits to the James River, Reynolds said, Freed returns to his Oregon Hill studio and "captures what the viewer sees and doesn't see in terms of wind, light, air, humidity - all of those atmospheric kinds of qualities he's able to capture through printmaking. Plus, in some of the works he's used this very beautiful, pale-blue paper. You really feel nature in a beautiful way."
Freed is an emeritus professor at VCU. He received his bachelor's in fine arts from Miami University in Ohio and his master's in fine arts from the University of Iowa. Freed has been awarded numerous grants and prizes during his career, including a Fulbright, the World Painting Competition and the Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts.
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After viewing Freed's exhibition, visitors can see Entanglements, a show of new oil-on-canvas landscape paintings by Joan Elliott. The artist received her bachelor's in painting from VCU and lives in Richmond.
Elliott's landscapes are composite views from places she's connected to in her travels. She photographs when she's traveling and uses the photos as reference points in the studio, where she combines images from different views she's experienced.
"She works on a relatively small scale," Reynolds said. "Her paintings start out at about 11 by 11 inches and go up to about 20 by 22 inches, which is huge for her."
The surface of her paintings is complex, as she etches and draws into the paint, creating a great deal of depth. Reynolds sees Elliott's landscapes not as a mere appreciation of natural beauty but as an encapsulation of a fleeting, momentary experience of the natural world.
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While Elliott paints in small scale, artist Amy Feldman prefers large scale as seen in Other Imperfect Provisions, an exhibition of her new oil-on-canvas paintings. The artist received her bachelor's in fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design and her master's in fine arts from Rutgers University. She moved to Richmond after a committee of VCU painting and printmaking faculty members chose her as the VCU resident artist at Plant Zero for 2008-09.
"Amy is an exciting young painter who really knows how to push oil paint around on the surface of the canvas," Reynolds said. "Her works are very dynamic. They have an over-the-top, decadent quality to them, with a refreshing and bold use of color."
Feldman paints forms that are often food-related in order to examine desire and excess in our society. Reynolds said Other Imperfect Provisions creates a larger-than-life candy land in which gluttony serves as a metaphor for elements of our society.
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The final exhibition features sculpture and paintings by New York City artists of either emerging or established national reputation including Teresita Fernández, Wolf Kahn, Rosy Keyser, Jason Fox and Alyson Shotz.
Among the highlights is a wall installation of 500 mirrored glass pieces by Fernández, whom Reynolds called "highly regarded and acclaimed." Fernández graduated from the VCU sculpture department in 1993 and has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship in sculpture. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts recently acquired a major sculpture by Fernández for its collection.
All exhibitions run through June 13.