Monday, February 13, 2012

Ariel Freiberg: A Somerville Artist who wants you to inhabit her paintings

Ariel Freiberg: A Somerville Artist who wants you to inhabit her paintings

By Doug Holder

Ariel Freiberg is a 30 something artist who recently moved from across the river (I mean the Charles not our beloved Mystic)in Brookline, Mass. to the Paris of New England, Somerville, Mass. Freiberg said wanted to be closer to her space at the Vernon St. Studios. She reports that she really likes the vibe in our happening burg, and believes it is a good fit . The young artist told me amidst the din of a Saturday morning Bagel Bard meeting at the Au Bon Pain Cafe in Davis Square: " I feel part of the larger connective tissue of art-making disciplines that abound in the city." Freiberg finds that artists and art of all stripes inform her artwork, and I was pleased to hear literature is a component of it as well.

On her website Freiberg writes that her painting "...explores nature and literary based female-centric mythologies...Part of the process of my art is to invite the viewer into a visual and conceptual dialogue with the narrative of my personal experiences and observations."

She told me a recent piece dealt with the death of her grandmother who lived in Israel. The artist also explores themes like the seductions of beauty, the frenzy of consumption and copulation, and sexual fulfillment.

Freiberg, who says her influences are Italian artist Giovanni Tiepolo and Watteau, likes how their work( like her own), invites the viewer into the intimate space of the artwork through use of color and other techniques. She wants the viewer to inhabit the picture. She told me: " I want the person to be actually in the picture." I thought to myself that this reminds me of an old Twilight Zone episode I saw where the person actually entered the picture in order to get away from the insistent press of the flesh of the everyday, and just fade away between the frames. A visceral experience!

And indeed Freiberg's work is visceral. Her mythical woman are all at once innocent and carnal, child-like, and womanly--all the contradictions that make them real.

Freiberg holds a number of gigs to pay the rent and keep her stomach full. She teaches at Bunker Hill Community College (as does yours truly), as well as other venues of higher education in the area. Freiberg has a show coming up at the Laconia Gallery in the South End of Boston, and she will be part of a show at the Arts Armory in Somerville March 2. For information go to her website

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