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Marley Freeman

Marley Freeman Portrait by Sarah Rice, The New York Times

Marley Freeman is a New York-based artist who combines the disciplines of abstract and representational painting. Her unique facture is characterized by the hand-mixed gesso, acrylic, and oils she uses to create meticulous, psychologically-charged color fields. Through this technical process, she studies the ways in which paint “wants to perform.” “Pigments have their own ways of acting,” Freeman says, “and I became obsessed with learning their traits.” Freeman’s distinct vocabulary of forms is made up of brushy strokes, color washes, and shapes that freely transform across the picture plane. The influence of textile design is evident in her close attention to the textural subtleties of her paints, and her reverence for their surface effects—their impressions in the warp and weft of the canvas.

Freeman completed her MFA at the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College, New York, and her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Freeman’s work can be found in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; RISD Museum, Providence, Rhode Island; the San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas; and the Colorado University Art Museum, Bolder, Colorado.

Marley Freeman, tuned to existence, 2021, Oil and acrylic on linen, 8⅛ x 9⅛ inches; 20.65 x 23.19 cm, 9¼ x 10¼ inches; 23.5 x 26 cm (framed)
Marley Freeman, a self area, 2021, Oil and acrylic on linen, 54 x 54⅛ inches; 137.2 x 137.5 cm, 54¾ x 54⅞ inches; 139.1 x 139.4 cm (framed)


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  1. […] Marley Freeman spoke to us in mid-July 2022 when she had a solo exhibition of oil and acrylic paintings titled take care running at KARMA in New York City. The show spread across two medium-large rooms, a departure from her more recent exhibitions and the impetus for her to begin creating larger pieces. Freeman says it took about a year for her to be comfortable on a larger scale, something she hasn’t done in the past in her abstract works. These larger works surprised Freeman, who admits she has long preferred looking at smaller pieces. Although many of her titles suggest some sort of narrative, she explained that the titles come after the work is complete. She spends time with the finished work and discovers what various titles might give to each piece. To hear more about her process and work, listen to the complete interview. […]


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