Oneonta sculptor's works to be featured at Utica museum

 Richard Friedberg, Oil Fire, 2014, aluminum, 132 x 125 x 216 in. (11 x 10 .4 x 18 ft.), courtesy of the artist, photograph by Richard Walker. 

Monumental sculptures representing natural disasters caused by human activity will be featured in the exhibit, “Terrible Beauty: Richard Friedberg Sculpture,” on view Feb. 27 through May 30 in the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art in Utica.

“Terrible Beauty” serves as a showcase for Oneonta-based sculptor Richard Friedberg’s work created during the past decade. Friedberg has been compelled by such events as the BP Deep Horizon wellhead blowout at Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico and the Fukashima Daiichi nuclear accident and tsunami, presenters said in a media release. These specific events, in Friedberg’s hands and imagination, are transformed into “sublime works reminiscent of terrible explosions, tidal waves and smoke,” presenters said in a media release. 

In the release, Munson-Williams’ Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Mary Murray said as a person moves around Friedberg’s sculpture, its component parts come together, then change shape. The pieces in “Terrible Beauty” are specific objects, but they also have multiple points of view.

“The screening that Friedberg uses for the ‘Terrible Beauty’ sculptures works beautifully for this purpose. It is malleable, easily manipulated to suggest powerful but fleeting phenomena such as explosions or ocean waves that will transform again momentarily,” she said. “Light filters through the various layers of screening and that flickering sensation contributes to the eye’s perception of changeability.”

After receiving his Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University, Friedberg moved to New York City and was invited to exhibit his work at notable galleries including Tibor de Nagy, Fischbach and OK Harris, as well as at the 1973 Whitney Biennial and the Storm King Art Center. Friedberg was commissioned to create public sculptures for the Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta and Prudential in Jacksonville, and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant, according to the release.

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