by Andy Lyons, Editor-in-Chief
A local painter from Sedalia, Mo., will be displaying several paintings in St. Louis for the month of January following an exhibition next week.
The Bruno David Gallery, located at 7513 Forsyth Blvd. in Clayton, Mo., is hosting an exhibition of abstract artist Damon Freed’s oil on canvas landscapes, beginning with an exhibition from 5 to 9 p.m. Jan. 12.
Freed began his art studies at State Fair Community College in Sedalia then received his B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts, New York City where he graduated with honors. He received an M.F.A. from Hunter College, City University of New York. He teaches at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo. as well as at his alma mater State Fair Community College. Freed has been represented by galleries in St. Louis, Kansas City, and New York City. His most recent solo exhibitions include “Obstacle and Void” at the Bruno David Gallery, “Four Point Perspective” at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, and ‘Cadence’ at the Sherrry Leedy Contemporary Art Gallery in Kansas City.
Freed offered some insight into the show and his style while taking a break from preparing for the exhibition at the studio he shares with his father.
“This work began about four years ago, under the pressure of having painted abstractly for some time,” Freed said. “I wanted to get outside of the studio, literally, and into nature. That’s how it began.”
While Freed’s style is typically abstract, in that it contains no identifiable objects, the paintings he did for this showing are an amalgamation of abstract and landscape.
“These are less abstract, in a way, than what I typically do in a sense they are from nature, derived from nature,” Freed said, describing his process. “I make drawings, charcoal drawing, and the style, in a sense, came from that process. When I’m out in nature I draw with fine charcoal and it’s kind of a communion with nature for me. The paintings come from that.”
Freed said there was a period where he wasn’t confident to create paintings directly from his charcoals so he started transferring across different mediums until he settled on oils. Now, he uses his charcoal drawings as his starting point.
“It’s sensory, in that I’m responding to my gestures that were made in observation of nature (during the charcoal drawings),” Freed said. “So the energy that comes from the mark feeds the color, it feeds the mark in the paintings. So it’s kind of this symbiotic thing with nature all the way through, these different layers of process. Now, the ultimate expression lands somewhere, I don’t know exactly where, other than the fact that for me as I look around the paintings are energized through brightly-painted surfaces.”
When discussing his motivations for getting into art and abstract style, Freed said it was his father, artist Doug Freed, who inspired him.
“All growing up, my father was an abstract artist, non-objective…” Freed said. “And that’s what I am when I paint abstract, except for the landscapes that’s something different. So when I paint abstract, it has something to do with a belief in love, I’m getting there, in that sense. So love, by that I mean unity, the ecumenical aspect of life in that, not the religious sense, but the freedom sense. In the sense that we are connected, and one. It’s not always, rainbows and unicorns, it’s not always that way but I try to paint a good vibe, a positive message.”
Listen to full audio of our interview with Damon Freed below.