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Lynda Frese: Holy Memories & Earthly Delights

Feb 17, 2018 — May 19, 2018

This exhibition highlights Frese’s early silver-gelatin photograms and experiments made in California thirty years ago – while also tracing a steady trajectory of her continued interest in the human form. About half of the pieces on view were created before her move to Louisiana in 1986, when she joined the faculty of UL Lafayette’s College of the Arts.

There is a loose energy of drawing in much of the work. As a photographer Frese draws with light, but as a painter she also reveals a deep sensitivity to color and material that is specific to place. Some of the compositions radiate an earthy glow. She is a keen observer of the natural world and its energies, yet her figures operate in a symbolically rich plane of the imagination.

Lynda Frese: Holy Memories & Earthly Delights includes works from 1978 to 2018, and is divided into eight categories that explore recurring visual themes. For example, nine pieces examine her longstanding interest in vessels and pottery, while another sixteen works are rooted in Jungian notions of the subconscious. The show features early formal experiments created in the darkroom, as well as collages and later mixed-media artworks that incorporate egg tempera and organic elements such as plants and insect parts. The photographs on display range in technique from digital composites to silver-gelatin processes that incorporate a variety of toners affecting color including copper, selenium and vanadium.

In her words: I believe in the mystery of Gaia: that the components of Earth are functioning as a single living system or organism. Frese’s pictures are essentially landscapes, and the human lives represented in them are part of a larger system of nature. She is an avid traveler and seeks out UNESCO world heritage sites. Her work is a witness to countless mythologies, and also tells a story of personal discovery. It seeks spaces of emotional and spiritual power while featuring a myriad of figures – from family members to pop-stars, insects, and icons from antiquity.

Frese uses montage and collage to create pictures that contain surreal, imagined places. Layers of imagery serve as windows. Choices of scale suggest the figure’s relationship to his or her environment. In these spaces, the forces of gravity, light and optical clarity are optional and, at times, are manipulated for emotional or psychological impact.



Lynda Frese was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1956. Her art has been exhibited internationally and is part of many public and private collections, including the SF MOMA, San Francisco; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Ogden Museum of Art, New Orleans; Davis Art Center in California; Hilliard University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; Palazzo Farnese, Ortona, Italy; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and the Center for Photography, Woodstock.

Between 1976 and 1986, Frese lived in the Sacramento Valley of California. She trained in printmaking at UC Davis and earned a BFA in 1978. Afterward, she began exploring darkroom techniques and earned an MFA in photography. Among the artists mentoring her during this period were painter Wayne Thiebaud and ceramicist Bob Arneson, a leader of the Funk Art movement. In 1985, Frese attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. A frequent visitor to Italy, her past residencies also include the American Academy in Rome; ArteStudio Ginestrelle, Assisi; The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, and the Liguria Center for the Arts and Humanities at the Bogliasco Foundation.

In 2016, Frese was also recognized by the Louisiana Cultural Awards as Artist of the Year for her sustained work celebrating the culture and history of the Southern United States. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and National Endowment for the Arts awarded her a 2014 residency at Shadows-on-the-Teche in New Iberia LA. She is currently based in Breaux Bridge, LA.

In conjunction with the opening of the exhibit UL Press will publish a new monograph on Frese’s work. The publication will include essays by Dr. Mary Ann Wilson, Distinguished Professor of English and Women’s Studies at UL Lafayette, and Mexico City-based photography critic Alejandro Malo.


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