In Vivianus, Leslie Friedman, influenced by Pop art, explores human identity, belonging, and evolution. She utilizes printmaking and mixed media installation to present politically and socially subversive content, cloaked by the artist's colorful presentation of her subjects.
Friedman joins narrative with repetitious patterned environments inspired by the lives and work of reclusive American artist and writer Henry Darger, well-known Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, German punk icon Nina Hagen, and others to create a utopian island on which outcasts communicate through rock 'n' roll music and immerse themselves in indulgent individualism. The island's name, Vivianus, derives from Darger's epic work of fiction In the Realms of the Unreal, in which seven brave sister princesses (the Vivian Girls) protect their homes from a group of evil Satan worshippers.
Friedman's work also captures the sexually explosive, mind-altering music of the 1960s and 70s. Referencing the Source Family, a 60s and 70s California-based cult that formed a communal psychedelic rock band, Vivianus includes a series of lithographs inspired by the group's popular health food restaurant and extensive legacy of rock albums.
In her vibrant survey of eccentric personalities and their ideologies, Friedman playfully carves out a space to equally activate feelings of island isolation with romanticized notions of community and cult identity.
About the Artist
Leslie Friedman was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 2005 to 2007, Friedman lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and built a printmaking studio in the historic neighborhood of San Telmo. In 2011, she completed an MFA at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Friedman and fellow Tyler alumna Daryl Bergman founded a collectively-run project space in Philadelphia called NAPOLEON, which now has ten members. In 2012, Friedman was named a fellow at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA) in their Career Development Program, and in 2014 she won the Fleisher Wind Challenge in the sculpture category. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, including in Korea, China, and Australia.
Opening Reception, January 24, 12-2 pm (Snow Date: Sunday, January 31)
Art Salad Free Lunchtime Discussion, April 21, 12-1 pm
Screenprinting Workshop, April 24, 1-3 pm