Warner Friedman’s precise renderings of architectural details as portals to the outdoors astound the viewer with their intricate plays of shadow and light. Their three-dimensional perspective not only changes the aesthetics of a space, but also alters our perception of a room’s dimensions. Working with acrylic paint on irregularly shaped canvases, Friedman carefully constructs every angle of his works. Architectural models built by hand inform the wooden structures he paints in realistic detail. He carefully observes these models in different light and determines the optimal effect to compliment the final composition. This laborious devotion to his process makes good use of Friedman’s background in engineering and results in paintings of exquisite detail.
With a career spanning over 60 years and stylistic roots in the New York School of Abstract Expressionism, Friedman’s insight comes to us firsthand and unfiltered. He studied at Pratt and Cooper Union and took part in the Cedar Street Tavern scene, the unofficial meeting place for the New York School in the 1950s. Comprised of simple black and white geometries, his early paintings were greatly influenced by Ellsworth Kelly and Sol Lewitt. Although his work has taken a completely different stylistic direction over his long career, the abstract expressionist influence prevails. Friedman often incorporates images of works by 20th century artists in his slanted compositions, paying homage to their oeuvre while cleverly utilizing key elements that enhance the illusionary perception of his paintings.
There is no way to rush the work of Warner Friedman. Fiercely independent and with a clear sense of direction, he produces four to six paintings a year, each one exquisite in its own right. Warner resides in the bucolic countryside of Sheffield, Massachusetts where he has converted a historic church into his studio and diligently works year-round. His work has been widely exhibited throughout the United States, most notably at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, CT; Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC and the Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton Art Museums in Florida.
Travis Wilson, the director of Tangent Contemporary Art narrates the following videos on available paintings by Warner Friedman: