For 2016…

…two outstanding performances deserve mention: “The Threepenny Opera ” by Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weill with Rory Kinnear and the Stravinsky series at the Royal Festival Hall with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Cant wait to see Maxine Peake in “A Streetcar Named Desire” and Pinters “No Man’s Land “with Stewart and McKellan.

Have recently read “A History of God” by Karen Armstrong, a real challenge to religious orthodoxy by this ex-nun. Now beginning the latest biography of Clement Atlee by John Bew “Citizen Clem”…….very apposite given the Labour Party’s self inflicted wounds.

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Catching Up

Exhibitions and plays

I have been catching up with what’s been on in London in the past year and the following have made lasting impressions.

Alexander Calder at Tate Modern…………..a genius engineer/designer/artist/sculptor……….Fabulously curated exhibition.

History of Nothing at the White Cube in Bermondsey, curated by Hannah Gruy. This group show, largely of installations, is an abstract homage to anti consumerism in the modern world.

Delacroix and the origin of modern painting. This largely for the last painting in the exhibition…………..a Kandinsky “Study for Innovation V” painted in 1910. The exhibition took one on the journey that ended where Kandinsky began.

Modern British Abstract Art at Waterhouse and Dodd; a survey of some of the main artists of the last 50+ years.

I did not like the Ai Wei Wei as I think he has become the story rather than his art and his hypocricy shows through all too evidentially.

I also liked the Morandi at the Estorick, Hoyland at Damien Hirst’s and the Giorgione at the RA

I saw two outstanding pieces of drama in the winter, among many others,…A Girl is a Half Formed Thing at the Young Vic. A dramatic, one person tour de force written by Eimear McBride and acted by Aoire Duffin. See it where ever you can but don’t read the book first…….it won’t mean anything, the play’s the thing.

The second piece was Simon McBirney’s masterpeice for Complicite at the Barbican…… The Encounter. A true story using every one of our senses and some very hi tech to capture you…………Amazing.

I am looking forward to the British Abstract show at Tate Modern soon and the Botticelli at the V and A.

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Mostly the Otherwise

A chapter in my latest book “You Couldn’t Make it Up” is called “The Joys and Otherwise of International Travel”.

I begin by suggesting that the “Otherwise” wins hands down and that there is little joy in travelling internationally certainly by air.

Well the past 12 months have proved that wrong. Long may it last… So why mention it here? It’s because I cannot get the images of the places we have been to out of my head and they are such an influence on my work that they are part of my art.
The Northern Lights in Finland, on the Russian border well inside the Arctic circle are indescribable but then so is the Ring of Kerry and the Killarney national Park in Ireland, the Atlas mountains in Morocco and the outer islands of northern Scotland.
Want inspiration??? Go there!!

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“You Couldn’t Make It Up” Ordinary Guy, Extraordinary Life

This is the title of my new book. please refer to the portfolio of the same name for some more information. Please buy it. Enjoy. Thanks

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Exhibition for Greenpeace

I have donated 7 paintings to a fund raising event in favour of Greenpeace. They will be auctioned with all the money going to the campaigning organisation.

The works come from those that remained from my exhibition in Italy, “Self Destruct- Man’s Devastation of his Environment”. (See them in the portfolio tab on the website). My concern for the environment is completely in tune with Greenpeace’s objectives.

They include works inspired by my Antarctica visits and from amazing photos by both Edward Burtynsky and David Maisel. The latter said there is even ” beauty in the rejected subject.”

The event is on 6th February at 8pm at the CLF Cafe in the Bussey Building, Rye Lane, Peckham. It will include entertainment, poetry, an art exhibition and music.

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My Italian Exhibition………..what happened???

The Palazzo Dei Capitani, Ascoli Piceno

I thought 2 weeks before the opening that all was well. What a mistake.!

The press was lined up, the material translated, the food and drinks for the opening organised, the materials for packing bought, insurance cover organised, prices set, materials for visitors printed, air tickets and car rental sorted………..etc.

But……….I was told the original, perfect salons were double booked and I was in the second best lot.

Packing, with the help of Jess an expert took one and a half days……………perfectly done but very time consuming and expensive.

A courier was selected on the advice of Mailboxes Ltd………….UPS……..never use them again…………..the packages were delivered a day earlier than the guarantee and no one was at home. On the due date, they weren’t delivered. Did I panic of course bloody not! they eventually arrived 24 hours late.

In the meantime I was kicking my heals at Heathrow “Waiting for Godot” , in this case the Italian Air Traffic Controller’s strike to end. I got to Ascoli at 1:30 am on the Saturday instead of mid afternoon on the Friday.

We began to unpack and hang in the allotted gallery but were then told we could have the original one back. Great. But remember this is Italy.

Worked all weekend to recover situation with Avril, Ali (a friend from England) and Reno, our Italian odd job man.

The food was planned to be delivered too early, we had to ensure the cafe understood why early was as bad as late.

But…………..70 people came to the opening, more or less on time, including the Mayor who opened the exhibition. It was a great success.

By then the publicity had begun to trickle out. By the end of the first week I had 6 write ups in Newspapers and 19 on line articles. Thanks Allessandra.

There was a steady flow of people for the 10 days although invigilation was boring at the best of times.

Not as many sales made as I would have liked. The people in the Marche Region are pretty conservative and my art may not have appealed to them as much as if I had shown in Rome, Venice or Milan. but you have to start somewhere.

Avril went home after a week and I was joined by Sarah, my blonde bombshell friend from Art School, as Avril calls her. Thanks for helping Sarah.

Shipped half the stuff back with us from Rome and the rest will come back in the New Year.

Great experience, lots of learning, but Italy is Italy and the unexpected is the norm.
Budding artists…………you are warned.

With the Mayor at the opening

View of Exhibition entrance from Palazzo balcony

View of Exhibition entrance from Palazzo balcony

Visitors at opening night

Visitors at opening night

Ali serving drinks and food.

Ali serving drinks and food.

Avril admiring(?) painting.

Avril admiring(?) painting.

Avril and I at recepetion

Avril and I at recepetion

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Pathway to Abstraction

Exhibition at Agora Gallery in Chelsea, New York City, December 2012 – January 2013.

The title of this group show, Pathway to Abstraction, could not be more apposite for me. I have been treading this path for the last 6 years, it ain’t easy but a wonderful challenge. To be asked to participate was an honour and a huge surprise.

Given my short background as an artist, this was a surreal experience. I’d been to New York over 100 times so the place was very familiar. But to go there as an artist exhibiting at a well known and long established gallery was weird. No-one, least of all me would or could have predicted that even a year ago. For the days running up to the event and the two days following I was in a daze………….nothing could have prepared me for that…………..and I was somewhat overwhelmed. For those who know me that’s unusual to say the least.

The gallery was extremely impressive and professional in the way they treated and promoted their artists. There are some links below worth looking at.

I showed two works on canvas and art from my “Abstractions of Man’s Environmental Destruction” Series, on scorched hardboard with heavy collage and mixed media. They all relate and are inspired by my concern for the environment and the effects of climate change.

Over 200 guests came for the opening, including some friends from the UK, Manhattan itself and Washington DC. It was a very different feel from a London opening, not the least because it was on a Thursday when dozens of Galleries in Chelsea and SoHo also open their doors. Thus people take in as many galleries as they can on the night. Sales are rare at or before openings again unlike London. Buyers come back. The show is on till 12th January. Here’s hoping for a sell out!!

The gallery’s main web site is www.agora-gallery.com

Navigating it is easy and if you go to Exhibitions you can see reception photos and videos and also past exhibitions (if you see it before 12/1/2013 it will of course be current)

If you go to Resources and then ARTmine and search for Michael Freedman you will get my web pages with their write ups and promotion materials, somewhat dramatic but who cares?

With Jess Rutterford, a fellow student at Wimbledon College of Art and Design, then working in New York.

Just before opening reception alongside two works, "Red Road" and "Cyanide Lake".

Discussing my processes with guests.

With Avril in front of works from "Abstractions of Man’s Environmental Destruction" Series

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ReGroup

Exhibition at Putney Art School ….. November-December 2012

This was group show with three friends whom I met when we were all part time students at the School. The others being Abi lipski, Judith Hayes and Suzanne de Emmony We all went on the graduate from colleges of the University of the Arts, London, in 2011 and 2012. We began as oil on canvas painters although Abi is the only one who has stuck religiously to this medium. Judith became a photographer and has now become a sculptural installation artist and Suzanne is a print maker/painter/photographer. I guess I still paint but on steel, granite, wood and hardboard and use a variety of mediums including collage,minerals and processes like scorching to enhance my work .
The opening reception was like a reunion with over 100 friends from our time at Putney and some new guests. A very relaxed evening with a 3 week show to follow.

Proud Grand-Dad and Grand-daughter, Jasmine, at opening.

Fellow artists, Judith Hayes, Suzanne de Emmony, Abi Lipski and yours truly.

Two of my featured works from my "Man's Devastation of the Earth" Series

Guests at the opening reception including my wife , Avril, on the left.

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Exhibition at Buscall Gallery, Harrogate, Yorkshire.

This was the opening show of a new gallery. I exhibited my two “Ice Cliff ” paintings and several from the series “Abstractions of Man’s Environmental Destruction“. I showed “Earth on Fire”, “Pesticide’s Impact”, “Why Don’t You Believe in Climate Change?” and “Deliberate Neglect”. They can be seen in the relevant portfolios, elsewhere on this site.

Unfortunately they were not hung to best advantage, the gallery tried to cram too much into the exhibition and in their enthusiasm did not leave enough space for any of the works to be seen in their best light.

What struck me then and subsequently with the Putney and New York shows was the amount of work that is involved in sending work properly finished, insured and packed and organising for its return if necessary. Its a surprisingly time consuming business and surprisingly costly too. There has been little time for actually creating work between August and December given the organisation involved in three exhibitions.

The full size versions of the 3 close up images below can be see in the portfolio “Abstractions of Man’s Environmental Destruction“.

Why dont you believe in climate change? Close up detail.

Why dont you believe in climate change? Close up detail.

Pesticides' Impact - Close up detail.

Pesticides' Impact - Close up detail.

Deliberate Neglect - Close up detail

Deliberate Neglect - Close up detail

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Autumn Thoughts

Having just come back from the Orkney Islands, Shetland and Lewis/Harris in the Outer Hebrides, one of the best 2-3 holidays we have ever had, I feel inspired to paint, to abstract the most beautiful scenery and historic atmosphere ( they were settled 5000 years ago, one thousand years before Stonehenge) but it ain’t easy.

I am also motivated to create work derived from the amazing landscape photos sent back from the Mars landing. Lets hope we don’t destroy that place too.

Interrupting are the exhibitions planned for the next 3 months. One at the Vibe Gallery, a last minute decision to join the Affordable Art Fair, and then the Putney and New York ones. The preparation to exhibit takes an inordinate amount of time, more than I ever thought and can be expensive, especially if sales are not prolific!

In each of these exhibitions I am showing the work under the first of the portfolios, “Abstractions of Man’s Environmental Destruction”

Lots going on in the Art world…..the Tanks at Tate Modern were disappointing, the Cork Street fiasco is a sell out to the highest bidder with no thought for the culture of the nation, whether or not you like what is on show at the galleries there, they do have a place.

Off to see Bronzes at the RA and the Hamilton at the National soon.

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  • News

    This is largely a stream of consciousness when the mood takes me and tries to illustrate my thinking, exhibitions that have made an impact and other ephemera.