8 Ashburton Pl, Boston, MA 02108-2701, United States
Expansive Baroque: Zoe Friend
The term baroque is thought to derive from the Portuguese barroco, or “oddly shaped pearl”, it has been widely used since the nineteenth century to describe the period that flourished in Western European art from about 1600 to 1750.
Zoe Friend’s sculpture is a contemporary take on the concept of exuberance and great drama which is embedded in the visual art and music of the period. In its most typical expression, Baroque painting is characterized by rich, deep color, and intense light and dark shadows. Friend’s work is made up of a myriad of materials and parts, all devoid of local color.
Like contemporary artists Petah Coyne and Liza Lou, her works echo this movement, think painters like Michelangelo Caravaggio, Diego Velasquez and sculptor Antonio Bernini (among his many works, the St. Peter’s Basilica seems to have a strong correspondence with Friend’s sculptures); even the elaborate food preparation for the upper classes of the period.
Zoe Friend’s work is best described as maximalist monochrome baroque-inspired assemblage. She says “I work in a language of disposable plastic objects executed in the language of early natural history dioramas. My focus is on the consumer sublime and where our relationship with Nature intersects with societal detritus.” These notions of excess are captured through the lens of the baroque, a highly decorative and maximalist language of motifs largely borrowed from and inspired by Nature. In her work, this imparts a contradiction between the highly ornate and sumptuous motifs and the lowly trash-material from which they are constructed. The excess of consumption is expressed in this banal and problematic monochromatic matter. The assemblages are stripped of familiar color cues allowing the viewer to experience form before the materials.
We are pleased to present Zoe Friend’s first solo gallery exhibition.
Related on-line materials:
Exhibit website with links to related artists, websites, books, artist Zoe Friend’s website, and a virtual tour.