Ada Friedman 

Artist Statement

My studio process manifests through drawing, painting, ceramics, writing, staging, and directing plays. Although multidisciplinary, my practice is housed in drawing and painting.

In my ongoing Everyday Drawings (EVD) series, I mesh modes of drawing, painting, and collage. My observational drawings arise from moments of intimate looking, such as watching plants grow on my fire escape, focusing in on parts of artworks in museums, and observing the progression of works in my studio. The handwritten text becomes a texture and is a mixture of self-dialogue stream of consciousness, quotes, and dates. I combine these zones of working with indexical marks, such as tracings of found and made objects, and cut photocopies from my growing archive. Some compositions echo a calendar’s patchwork grid, while others consist of an allover pattern punctuated by bold text or a shape. Bright applied and inherent colors from collage elements and borders abound. These works are self-reflexive and transparent: they show the process of their making and the context in which they are made. I work in a range of traditional painterly materials (oil, acrylic, gouache, pastel) alongside experimental and rudimentary media like crayons, tin can lids, lighting gels, and reflective Mylar. The EVDs illuminate my research on ideas of time as non-linear, subjective, and detached from the Gregorian calendar.

My work is imbued with ritual and propelled by the momentum of making. I forefront my studio’s physicality by writing, staging, and directing plays. These Performance Proposals, a name I have given to the plays and the artworks that catalyze and create them are in direct contrast to the interiority of EVDs as they are meant to activate imaginations and bodies other than just mine. Their imagery and materials develop in tandem with a script I write, which is an accumulation of research, lists, and hands-on making. Operating in the Poets Theater mindset of serious silliness and the paradox of choreographed everyday movement, I have staged six different iterations of Helen Rides, inspired by the overlooked esoteric Beat poet Helen Adam. Helen Rides Performance Proposals take different forms: large, shaped fabric and paper paintings, oil on stretched linen, mixed media drawings, costumes, puppet paintings, ceramic stage lights, and instruments, to name some.

In the studio, I celebrate and explore the time ticking mundane, the animation of the inanimate, and painting’s ability to make and activate worlds.