Friedman creates large, painterly weavings that ooze, sag, pinch, and dangle in vibrant shades of magenta, vermilion, fluorescent yellow, and cobalt blue. Her compositions, full of seemingly dissonant yet pleasurable colors and patterns, draw upon viewers’ feelings of discordance to provoke a visceral response.
Originally trained as a painter and sculptor, Friedman began weaving in 2014 and found that the repetitive, tactile process was meditative and allowed her to merge formal aspects of both practices. Working on a loom, the artist assembles undulating abstract shapes accentuated with cotton piping, colored glass, and applied paint, evoking bodily textures and psychedelic patterns. In some cases, she builds up emotive clusters of looped fiber and embeds warped text in phrases such as “Enough” and “If Only.” Friedman embodies a sense of precariousness in her textiles, with threads that cling to one another or appear to be on the verge of unraveling. This tension is an important aspect of her practice and reveals itself in the contrast between natural and synthetic fibers, contradictory colors, and lopsided forms.
In this body of work, the form mirrors Friedman’s conceptual interest in neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to develop new neural connections over time. In her catalogue essay, Alexis Wilkinson writes: “Her works are both a result of and build toward her desire to usher in a ‘collective rewiring’ to contend with the tenor of anxiety and distress in a turbulent cultural and political climate, while recognizing that joy and despair exist alongside one another. By creating compositions that have the potential to engender simultaneous responses of attraction and repulsion, Friedman hopes to ‘rewire’ her viewers’ relationship to comfort and discomfort via notions of style and taste.” As such, Friedman’s textiles optimistically probe at the possibilities for adaptation and growth that haptic encounters offer.