b. Washington, D.C. 1984
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
Ada Friedman makes untraditional paintings. Each work hosts one discreet painting on either side of its multi-surfaced structure. Pairs are intimately bound by Friedman’s acute senses of color, structure, and material coordination.
Paper is Ada’s primary material, for its broad malleability. The shapes of her paintings are easily carved from large swaths of it. She recently showed an exhibition of works that she calls “the pyramid paintings,” all of which are shaped like relaxing isosceles triangles. Although each painting lives within the same overall shape, all position their angles differently. Friedman often works in series like these, wherein similar geometries separately thrive because paint and gesture define and differentiate them from one another.
Into these large, sturdy, irregularly shaped pieces of paper, Friedman fully integrates intermittently collected and discreetly organized stuff. These items are not adhered to completed, painted surfaces; her works are not collages. Instead, lighting gel or a found doily is a necessary structural component of the entire plane on which any two paintings live.
Her senses of color and brushwork thoroughly define these works as paintings. They are bare-faced in that the artist’s hand and process is on full display. Underpainting, overpainting, note taking, fortifying, and erasing are all plainly legible amidst decisive color coordination.
Friedman takes nothing for granted, starting with her work’s substrates. Paper and all are situated in service to the sure-footed yet searching specifics of gesture and color theory in Friedman’s fresh approach to Abstraction. She deals with Abstraction in the originary sense; not merely as a description of non-figurative play, but Abstraction as the elusive search for a universal language to speak of the condition of experience.
Friedman has had recent solo and two-person shows at Kendra Jayne Patrick, Bern, Switzerland; Grifter, NYC; and Safe Gallery, Brooklyn. She has been included in numerous group shows at Cleopatra’s, Brooklyn; Situations, NYC; Adds Donna, Chicago; Essex Flowers, NYC; Redling Fine Art, LA, among many others. She holds an MFA from Bard College in Painting, where she was the recipient of the Hartog Travel Grant and has participated in residencies at such places as Shandaken Projects, NY; Autocenter, Berlin; and Clay Break at The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
Friedman published an artist book, Because Nothing Ends, with Peradam in 2013. Drawing Hilma Af Klint, made in collaboration with artists Ariel Dill and Denise Schatz, was published by Miniature Garden in 2014. Friedman is a founding member of the artist-run cooperative gallery Essex Flowers in NYC. She is a Visiting Artist/Lecturer in Painting and Drawing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2021-22). Friedman is based in New York City.