Zane Bennett Contemporary Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of Michael Freitas Wood’s paintings entitled Unfolding Time. The opening is Friday March 29th at the gallery, 435 South Guadalupe Street, across from the rail station, from 5:00‐7:00 pm to coincide with the Railyard Arts District Last Friday Art Walk.
The grid has been a time honored vehicle for transferring and enlarging images; its use reached a pinnacle with Agnes Martin’s focus on the grid as a pattern in itself since 1960. In this exhibition of three periods of work, Michael Freitas Wood uses the grid as a basic element for his paintings. Works from 2007 have a painterly woven appearance with strong gestural brush strokes. The color is bold with undulating grid lines of various thicknesses. We can peek through the surface to see an underlying grid below. Later, Freitas Wood began to use foam brushes, cutting into them to make unique patterns that would hold polymer paints. This created lines which bled into one another. The grid became denser and more hard lined. When the artist started adding pigment to plaster, he abandoned the brush all together and used palate knives to apply the plaster paint. This led Freitas Wood to move on to fiberglass as a painting surface.
Not only is fiberglass more durable than other surfaces, it also allows the artist to create larger works due to the material’s lightweight and flexibility. With multiple grids overlapping each other, the density of the surface of the painting increases and comes to resemble a tapestry.
Patterns in textiles from all over the world have influenced the artist. When Michael moved to New Mexico in 1991, Navajo blankets and rugs, particularly the patterns from the Chief blankets known as “Eye Dazzlers,” were incorporated into his paintings. Mayan and Aztec patterns as well as Native patterns from the Pacific Northwest became infused into his work. The artist’s intention is to create optical intensity, compeling the viewer to adjust his/her focus, depending on the distance from which the painting is viewed. The painting Imagine (see below) reads like a data feed with symbols and forms embedded in the grid. At a distance the painting appears one way; as the viewer approaches the work, more patterns are revealed, and the spaces behind the grid are exposed. It is this visual intensity that draws the viewer in.
Freitas Wood is acutely aware of the speed inherent in all media and visual presentations today. Our attention span has become reduced – we become impatient if a webpage takes more than a few seconds to load. The artist says of his work, “It requires the viewe to tae time with thepainting but ultimately with themselves.” The time it has taken the artist to develop the grid levels then unfolds as the viewer takes the time to decode the many layers within. Unfolding Time is a challenge to our way of looking at art. The paintings will reveal their secrets all in due time.