Art on Paper
Nancy Friese is so agog at color; she very nearly loses her landscapes in dabs and baubles of it. In her show at the Pepper Gallery, Friese gives us paintings as large as 72 by 84 inches and as small as a foot square. They blur the line between abstraction and landscape, building land. water and sky out of discrete patches and tendrils of color. Friese is also a printmaker, and two of her woodblock prints on hand give us a compositional blueprint for her paintings, built as they are from gouges and hatch marks into stunning, chocolate brown prints.
The best piece in the show is the medium-size 46" x 54" Last Leaves. Her, she weaves long horizontal ribbons of red, blue, purple and brown branches with bright puffs of yellow, gold and red not-yet-fallen leaves. A lake beyond coolly reflects the wild, natural grid above. It's an intricate picture, thrilling in its use of color and in the way it holds together.
Other paintings don't pull it off as easily. The large-scale works in particular can't effectively contain he wild palette Friese works in. Some of the small paintings, like "Mountain Light, Western Sky" make masterful use of brilliant tones. Others seem too small, crowded with brushstrokes. From this show, it seems as if for Friese middle-sized is just right.