Peter Frederiksen: NO NO NO NO NO
Massey Klein Gallery is pleased to present NO NO NO NO NO, a solo exhibition of new embroideries by Peter Frederiksen. The exhibition will be on view from September 2nd through October 8th. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, September 10th from 4-7pm. This is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery. For press inquiries or questions regarding works available, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Panic, denial, refusal, regret, defiance, protest; in spite of the succinct nature of the word “no,” it can carry a lot of meanings. A quiet mantra uttered under your breath as you wander through a dark house, investigating a noise; hurried exclamations while bracing yourself against would-be intruders; a sign nailed to a tree, meant to warn or frighten, or just to say “NO” because sometimes saying “no” feels right. Speaking “no” to the universe or whomever may be listening.
NO NO NO NO NO is a collection of new embroideries that seem to shout varied “nos” into the void. Initially, it would appear that the works carry a lot of negativity (as if fifteen versions of the word “NO” peppered through wasn’t enough of an indicator). In “Some locks won’t hold.” a person is left alone to fend for themselves against a horde of people, barricades failing. In diptych “Forced to perform.” the threat of an impossible task is thrust upon the viewer, complete with vertigo-inducing perspectives.
The titular “NO” works can tell the same story. Or, they can tell a different story. In removing the context of the repeated statement, the viewer can ascribe their own meaning or meanings. These quiet, wintry scenes - absent any real color or action - can be seen as warnings, untrodden grounds to be kept pure through monosyllabic exclusion. They can also be seen as declarations of resistance, protestations fixed with nails so as to ensure permanence. In their repetition, the question of futility comes to the forefront; if no one is listening, does volume or insistence matter?
In the vein of repetition, there exists some optimism: in diptych “Out from under rocks, clearing the crust from dreary eyes and seeing friends again." two neighbors wipe the dust from opposing windows, ready to face the world and what it has in store for them. In a twist on that piece’s optimism, diptych "Stuck, only until it's no longer convenient." presents a problem and a solution in mirrored panels, though somewhat deviously.
Similarly devious is the pairing of soft sculpture titled “Duds” - wherein twenty-two red, fibrous
sticks of dynamite are rendered ineffectual and stuck decoratively to the wall - and embroidery
“Teetering on indecision.” depicting the moments of contemplation before lighting a fuse and
starting on a path of destruction, a choice not-yet made but considered, delayed long enough for
the match to burn down to fingertips.
-Peter Frederiksen, 2022
Peter Frederiksen champions the art of embroidery. Throughout his exploration of the medium, the artist has developed a free-motion machine technique, commonly working on a standard sewing machine that has been altered by removing the presser foot and lowering the feed teeth, allowing Frederiksen to engage tension while moving an embroidery hoop around freely. The result is dense embroidery stitched onto linen canvas, which is then stretched onto a wooden panel as a nod to traditional painting. Described by the artist as “drawing with a sewing machine,” Frederiksen produces scenes with subtle gradients and uniform textures that closely resemble colored pencil drawings when viewed from a distance. The nostalgic, soft-edged scenes are born from the artist’s love of cartoons (notably post-war Warner Brothers and the Simpsons) and come together through a fervent editing process. Beginning with screenshots taken from old cartoons, often focusing on the smallest of elements while featuring as much action as possible, Frederiksen crops, edits and adds additional details, be it from other cartoons, eclectic designs or abstract images, before tracing, sketching and eventually stitching his creations onto linen.
The artist places great importance on the titles of his work, often giving the title as much thought as the image itself. His titles can be ciphers, descriptors, or sometimes just something that he considers humorous, but all serve to provide a jumping off point for the viewer’s interpretation of the work. While trying to match the poetics of the image with the poetics of the words, the artist maintains that much is open to interpretation - he is as interested in what others feel from the work as that which was intended.
Peter Frederiksen attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 2006 - 2008, with a focus on painting, drawing and fibers. It was during these years that the artist explored the techniques of other mediums and expanded his painting practice to include soft sculpture and fiber art. Following his time at SAIC, Frederiksen worked at ad agencies as an art producer where he fostered his passion for promoting and representing other working artists. He is currently a partner, representative and producer at RAD Represents, an artist representation company located in Chicago, IL.
The artist’s work has been presented at a number of institutions in Chicago including the Chicago Athletic Association (solo exhibition, 2020), the Hyde Park Art Center (group exhibition, 2019) and the Arts Club of Chicago (group exhibition, 2018). Most recently, the artist’s embroideries have been featured in group exhibitions internationally at Haverkampf Leistenschneider in Berlin (Text-ile, June - August 2022), Galleri Urbane in Dallas (Intersections, July - August 2022), Daniel Raphael Gallery in London (Go Figure!, July - August 2022), and Bulls Fest in Chicago, curated by All Star Press Chicago (The Art of the Game, September 2022). Frederiksen has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including The Guardian, Colossal, It’s Nice That, gallerytalk.net, Textiel Plus, The Fiber Studio, Composite Arts Magazine, and Chicago Art Review. The artist lives and works in Chicago, IL.
Massey Klein Gallery is located at 124 Forsyth St. New York, NY 10002. Gallery hours are Thursday - Sunday 12pm-5pm. To schedule a private viewing, email email@example.com.