It was in the mid 1970’s, at a time when painting was regarded by many of his contemporaries as being obsolete that Bernard Frize (b. 1949, Saint-Mandé, France) began to focus his attention exclusively on the act of painting. His abstract compositions derived from elaborately constructed rules, carefully choreographed performances which determined entirely the works’ formal composition. In one early series Frize peeled off the coloured skins from pots of paint left open in the studio and applied them over the surface of the canvas, the wet paint on the disks’ undersides acting as adhesive. More recent compositions involve teams of assistants moving their linked brushes across a wet white ground, and like the participants in a may-pole dance, mixing colours and forming interweaving bands of colour as they go.
Frize's paintings might then seem to find their place within the rich and familiar territory of 'process painting', their lush brushstrokes acting as an index of the carefully choreographed rituals by which they are created. But there is a further twist to the story, and it is in this that Frize’s work truly stands apart. Close inspection reveals that any trace of materiality or depth to the painted mark is conspicuously absent. Rather than indexes of the act of painting, Frize presents his viewers with pure images of paint, colour and reflected light.
Bernard Frize: Blackout in the Grid
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of paintings by Bernard Frize, the fourth to be held in the London gallery. This exhibition brings together paintings from Frize’s most recent series with works made in the decade from 1999 to 2008. As the Centre Pompidou prepares for its first major survey exhibition of the artist’s work, to be held in 2019, the juxtaposition of these works reveals both the consistency of Frize’s project, and his constant innovation.
Throughout his career, Frize has revisited and revised his own works from earlier series. The loops and switchbacks of the trajectory of his career seem to echo those interweaving marks which structure many of the paintings themselves. He has spoken of these structures as devices for the removal of compositional decisions. The paintings proceed in series; the series are determined by the rules which govern them. He continues until the variations, and the possibility to produce new results, are exhausted. Frize’s project is, simply stated, one of reducing painting to its most fundamental elements, of using structure and system to govern and regulate the compositional process and thus absolve the artist from the decision making process, so that there is nothing more to the work than its physical, even technological, method of production.
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present the second exhibition of new work by Bernard Frize to be held in our Hong Kong space. Since the late 1970s, Frize has explored and elaborated the processes that define painting, with inventive means of applying paint that allow him to develop a profound exploration of his method and of the materiality of the medium. Devising a process that allows the painting to emerge through its implementation, the works develop out of the logic of material procedures instead of a predetermined composition. More agent for the prescribed procedures than architect, Frize eradicates personal decision rather than premeditating the end result. Free of personal expression, his practice is based on technique and movement in which paint, tools and formulated methods for applying paint on canvas determine the motif or pattern.
Fractured Kathryn Andrews, Angela Bulloch, Bernard Frize, Louise Lawler, Daido Moriyama, John Stezaker, Christopher Wool, Toby Ziegler
Simon Lee Gallery Hong Kong is proud to present Fractured a selected group exhibition exploring one of modernism’s most characteristic formal strategies, the fracturing of the picture plane. Just as the Renaissance development of perspective yielded the possibility of the representation of three dimensional space in a two dimensional plane, so the modernist device of splitting the picture plane by means of formal fault lines suggested the simultaneous presentation of multiple viewpoints, and opened the door to abstraction.
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present ‘Faux Amis’, a group exhibition that centres on the dialogue between the work of gallery artists and their chosen ‘false friend’.
For this, the first exhibition to cover both the ground and the new first floor spaces of the London gallery, Simon Lee Gallery artists are invited to exhibit alongside, and in dialogue with, the work of an artist of their choice which they find forges a relevant, interesting, distracting, misleading, or stimulating relationship with their own practice. The resultant selection of works not only highlights the interesting discourses that can exist between artists of divergent practices and generations, but also suggests new readings of the individual works on display.