Marley Freeman
Park Closes at Midnight

May 17–June 23, 2019
Opening reception
Friday May 17, 6–8pm

188 E 2nd St
New York, NY 10009

Lauren O’Neill-Butler in conversation with Marley Freeman and Jason Fox
Sunday, June 23, 2019, 6pm

Posted all over the park are signs that read “PARK CLOSES AT MIDNIGHT”. The term signifies ending. The death of a day. The park closes but it will again re-open. You can find yourself in the park after midnight. It’s easy to break the rules.

Paintings are fleeting. Experience is momentary. When a mostly abstract painting accrues meaning it collects debris. It collects memory. It takes up space, physical and mental space—hard drive space now too. The whole operation feels out of step with the normal scale of time, out of step with its rules. It only happens when a time schedule collapses into the studio. That time is non-time. Hours don’t pass. Painting is done when it’s done. Paintings are on their own time. The park closes at midnight. What is midnight? 

Marley Freeman’s painted subjects exist in states of transformation. Her distinct vocabulary of forms draws from lineages of both abstract and representational painting in an aesthetic characterized by continuous layers of wide brush strokes, with pauses and intervals; washes of color of decreasing and increasing density; and attenuated and dispersed shapes which seem to consolidate the picture plane.

Renouncing the neutrality of canvas, Freeman prepares her surfaces with a gesso of her own making—the ground on which she paints is a flat, sort of chalky texture in hues of white and off-white—giving each painting its own unique foundational structure. She paints in oils and acrylics, the latter also produced by the artist from pigments and medium. This process reveals a practice of painting which not only comprises image-making but attention to structure, materiality and a kind of alchemy—the transformation of improvised marks into sculptural-seeming, three-dimensional bodies.

Though these works are ultimately abstractions, they make a clear relationship to the physical world. Often, there is no apparent image to understand, but a visual record of planes and fields that slowly uncover themselves with every glance. Each painting is a means to discover an invented image, complicating spatial norms, pulling the viewer into its depth and pushing them out again, an experience akin to navigating sections of a musical score for a rhapsody composed of contrasting moods, colors and tones that create metamorphic arrangements and fleeting luminous effects. Assuming their presence, Freeman activates a spectators perception by directing them to become aware of their own sensations and to overcome their inertia.

Opaque, translucent and transparent spaces flicker in these pictures—pictures with a linguistic synthesis, in which the artist is interested not so much in the appearance of things as in residual experience—an “emotional situation,” as Susan Sontag phrased it—with hesitations, elaborations and imprecisions capable of communicating content that exceeds the purely visual.

Marley Freeman (b. 1981, Boston, MA) lives and works in New York City. She completed her MFA at The Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College, New York and her BFA at The School of Art Institute of Chicago. Recent solo exhibitions include Janice Guy at MBnb, New York (2018); Parker Gallery, Los Angeles (2018); PSM, Berlin (2017); Cleopatra’s, Brooklyn (2015); among others. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin (2017); Murray Guy, New York (2017); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); White Columns, New York (2017).

For further information please contact the gallery at (212) 390-8290.