Marley Freeman

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Artist Statement

Painting is a manner of palimpsest, a battering of layers towards clarity- ‘object-ness.’ Brush as arbiter of form. Mark devolves into a spirit of play and love of work. Painting in 2015 is a space of projection.  Its weighty history makes it prime for reinvention.   As a person interested in image culture rather than the cult of painting, there seems to be room for invention.  At some point in the making, the painting becomes a thing with presence and I am the witness. In our culture of saturation, how is it that a painting can still have this power over a human? Every painting asks and answers this question for me, anew.  Each creates its own utility.

I came to this way of looking through two major avenues. My father is a textile collector and as I child I spent a huge amount of time looking at hand made objects. In my early 20’s I organized a jacquard/dobby mill design archive. Through the process of cataloging designs by possible end use, I came to understand the importance of an idiosyncratic image and its obscurity in mass culture. I understood what the recycled image was as I successively became disinterested in looking at design and its practices of consumptive recycling.

My art object is by design without reference. The colors are hand mixed out of pigment or dispersion. They are slapped onto the canvas at a rapid clip, in layers. I pay attention to the light of day. As the layers build, so do the color relationships until an image emerges. What makes it an image? When it gives me pause. When I can no longer justify its existence. It becomes something other than something I know or would know how to make, likely through a process of irrational decision making. It becomes a seemingly ordered space of experience, with light. That’s what I’m attempting.

Secondary practices are painting in found books, and doing hanging based performance. The performance work was initiated by a collaboration with Natasha Lorens at Triangle Arts in Dumbo.   We reinstalled 10 paintings in front of an audience for three hours.  It was an exercise in reading & looking (Natasha brought texts). During open studios 6 months later, I had a different person from three professions install my work every hour. This excluded me from becoming the awkward open studio artist. I was the assistant watching the transformation of space that occurs with painting.

As an exercise, I paint over found books. The pages must be different enough to maintain my interest, and work in their consigned order. It is a type of visual reading, which has greatly informed my canvas work, without being a study.


Artist CV


Milton Avory Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College
Masters of Fine Arts in painting 2011

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Bachelor of Fine Arts Program, 2008

New York Studio Program, Spring 2007

Burren College of Art, Study Abroad Advanced Studio, Ireland, 2006


Solo shows indicated by asterisk

2015*  Solo Show Yet Untitled, Cleopatra’s, Greenpoint Brooklyn Fall 2015

2015  Four Options: 245 Varet FKA/AKA Wildlife, Bushwick NY

2015  Jumping the Line: Artiz Group Harlem, NY

2014  About Like So: The Influence of Painting at Franklin Street Works

2014*  Syntagma: Painting as Event at Triangle Art Association in Brooklyn, NY

2014  Canaries at Cleopatra’s, Brooklyn, NY

2014  A Body for the Bedroom Group Show at Bed, Brooklyn, NY

2014 Ceramics Club Pop Up Jane Hatsook Gallery Greenwich Village NYC.

2013  Initial Contractions at Knockdown Center presented by Visitation and Reanimation Library.

2013  THIS IS THE PRISM THE SPIDER DREAMS OF at SIGNAL, Brooklyn NY. Curated by Benjamin Horns.

2013 Fruit and Vegetable Stand Organized by Paul Branca, Queens NY

2013 Spread it On Travis Boyer, Matthew Fischer, Marley Freeman at 247365, Brooklyn NY. Curated by Jesse Greenberg & Macgregor Harp

2013  Rainbows Have Nothing to Hide Gallleryy, Brooklyn NY

2013* Carey Dennison/Marley Freeman Kansas Gallery, New York NY

2012  Significant Ordinaries The University Art Museum (UAM), California State University, Long Beach

2012 How Can a Digital be a Gift? Goethe-Institut New York Library

2012  An Impossible Distance curated by David Horvitz, via web

2012  House Arrest curated by Terri C. Smith, at Franklin Street Works, Stanford CT.

2012  Favorite Brooklyn Based Painters James Fuentes Gallery for VIP Art Fair

2011 Play it Again curated by ACE curatorial collective, located at Hunter College’s 42nd st. campus.

2011*  Reading Boyishly coordinated by Corrine Fitzpatric at THIS IS THE PLACE, Diner Journals new creative space in Williamsburg Brooklyn

2011  Exprist outdoor painting show, Curated by Jessie Greenberg, under BOB at Columbia University

2011    Street Trash Curated by Virginia Overton, Brooklyn, NY

2011   One Night Show Curated by Leigh Ruple- Brooklyn, NY

2010  Carry On Galleria West, Group show organized by David Horvitz, Den Haag, Netherlands.

2010  How to Change a Tire MFA Thesis exhibition Milton Avery School, NY

2008   Contemporary Art Workshop, summer group show, Chicago, IL

2008  BFA Thesis, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL

2007    Crystal Slippage New York Studio Program, NY

2006 Moxi, New Haven open studios, CT

2006*  New Works on Brooklyn, Chicago Hot Glass, Chicago, IL

2005  Two Person Show at Fringe NY, with Ali Beletic, NY

Joan Mitchell: Painted book for American Books, forthcoming 2015   
Primitive State: Book cover for Anselm Berrigan’s forthcoming book 2015
  Music Diner Journal Issue #28 text on music, 2014
 ‘Carey Denniston/Marley Freeman’ at Kansas Review by Will Heinrich
 Untitled Painting Diner Journal issue no. 22November 2012
 Remark: Deep Throat conversation as review: Might Be Good July13th 2012. Text with Mary Walling Blackburn.
Marley Freeman in Collaboration with Andreview, commissioned by Franklin Street Works Press, Stamford CT. May 2012   
One Night ShowCatalogue to accompany the show at Vaudville partk.   
Carry On, Catalogue to accompany the Group show at GalleriaWest,Den    Haag, September 2010
How to Change a Tire   Bard thesis exhibition catalogue, 2010
 Drugstore Beetle (sitodrepa paniceum ) Organized and published by   David Horvitz,
February 2010Awards/Honors/ Residency’s     
Triangle Art Space Open Call Residency: Spring 2015   Painting Schlorship: Milton Avory Graduate School of the Arts,      
Summer 2010   Merit Scholarship: School of the Art Institute of Chicago 2006-2008
Beverly G. Alpay Scholarship: Palos Verde’s Art Center 1999.
Artist Biography:
“Painting is a manner of palimpsest, a battering of layers towards clarity- ‘object-ness.’ Brush as arbiter of form. My goals are in process. They devolve into aspirit of play and love of work.”  Drawing on a history with textiles, Marley’s workis a marginal type of abstraction born of a desire and pursuit of difference. Afterworking in the decorative arts in Southern California and New York, Marley wenton to pursue painting; earning a Bachelor of Fine arts from the School of the ArtInstitute of Chicago and a Masters of Fine Art’s from Bard college’s Milton AveryGraduate School.