Tom Friedman ( American, 1965 )
Tom Friedman delights in experimenting with different models of making and thinking about art, and his paradoxes and mutations oftentimes humorously undermind conventional ideas of art's media, structure, and meaning. Roughly three quarters the size of an average white male lying face down, the pose used in this beguiling self-portrait is a variation on a theme that has numerous art historical precedents, from Manet's dead toreador, Mantegna's foreshortened dead Christ, Gaugin's Tahitian women, to Delacroix and Ingres' odalisques. Yet here the figure is flattened, face down away from us, as if trying to push his way through the floor. Such playfulness is fully consistent with Friedman's labor intensive and brilliantly constructed art; here layer after layer of paint has been applied to create a literal and metaphorical skin of a work of art that plays with notions of what constitutes painting, sculpture, and portraiture all at once.
Charles Wylie, DMA unpublished material, 2006.
Anna Katherine Brodbeck, ed., TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art), 2018.
- Though the medium for Tom Friedman's Untitled is acrylic paint, the artist prefers that it be listed simply as "paint." And, though it appears to be a painting, albeit a flat one on the floor, he defines it as sculpture.