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Tom Friedman:Not Something Else
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Published: March 24 2009

"Green Demon", 2008, Expanding insulation foam and mixed media, 231.1 x 109.2 x 91.4 cm © Tom Friedman copy right(c) Tom Friedman / Courtesy of Tomio Koyama Gallery

Bubble gums, toilet paper, toothpicks, plastic drinking straws…. Tom Friedman transforms these ordinary, everyday materials into unexpected and beautiful artworks. Friedman’s such art making has roots in a breakthrough that he experienced when he was a graduate student. Having realized that art should not be defined by its formats, he emptied his studio completely, painted everywhere white, and lighted the space with fluorescent light fixtures on the ceiling. In this almost like a sensory-depriving space, Friedman started his new explorations by bringing objects one by one, once again. In Untitled (2000), he sprinkled and laid out pink eraser shavings in a circle on the floor. The edge of the circle looks like a nebula. With this work, Friedman bestows power of turning themselves into an artwork on physical properties of a non-art material or object (eraser shavings, in this case). In 1,000 Hours of Staring (1992-97), a blank piece of paper stared by himself for 1,000 hours, Friedman raises questions about the boundaries that have been drawn around artistic activities. Tomio Koyama Gallery, Kyoto is pleased to present Friedman’s 7 new works, including sculpture, animation video, and drawing.

“Many years ago, I was influenced by Zen Buddhism. I had an epiphany when I heard the story about the dog. The Zen Master said to his student, “it’s not ‘It’s a dog!’ …It’s just Dog! Dog! Dog!” To me, the direct experience is what art, even what life, is all about. Subject and object can and do, in those great moments, dissolve into themselves, leaving us in simple wonder. The direct experience, the thing itself, Not Something Else .” (From Artist Statement)

This exhibition features the works that exemplify his new (and consistent) explorations into objects and things themselves, “not something else.”

Tom Friedman was born in 1965 in St. Louis, MO. He received B.F.A. in Graphic Illustration at Washington University, St. Louis, and M.F.A. in Sculpture at University of Illinois, Chicago. He currently lives and works in Massachusetts. He has exhibited in major museums, such as Guggenheim Museum, throughout the world. His most recent solo exhibitions have been held at South London Gallery, London, Fondazione Prada, Milan, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and Gagosian Gallery, London/ Beverly Hills. It is the 4th solo exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery after 1998, 2001, and 2004. * The text was provided by Tomio Koyama Gallery.

Last Updated on March 28 2009

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