Among the most celebrated recent works by Friedman under this umbrella are the artist’s crushed aluminum foil roasting-pan figures, through a process of molding and lost wax casting, the figures are eventually converted into stainless steel while retaining the detail and imprint of the baking tins. Towering nearly thirty-three feet high, Looking Up, 2015, is among the largest and most spectacular of these works, a major new acquisition by The Contemporary Austin for the grounds of the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria.
The original incarnation, Untitled (Looking Up), 2012, was first seen in a solo exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery in London and stood just over thirty-three inches tall. Here, he simply looks upward and observes. Friedman’s figure is both delightful, a curious wanderer who has found his way to the grounds, and poignant, his stance evoking the existential human condition. At once charming, magnificent, fragile, and powerful, the figure looks to the clouds and blue sky, inviting others to stand at its base and do the same.
On View at the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria
Friedman’s work often manipulates the gap between appearance and fact, wherein things seemingly made of one thing are actually composed of another. Non-precious materials such as trash, paper, Styrofoam, paint, and aluminum foil are used to make hyper-real renditions of pepperoni pizza, apples, or New Balance sneakers; a bloody three-dimensional self-portrait depicting the artist splattered on the ground.
Tom Friedman (American, born 1965 in St. Louis, Missouri) currently lives and works in Massachusetts. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Washington University in 1988 and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1990.
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