Tom Friedman: Always The Beginning

Tom Friedman Stephen Friedman Gallery

A show of new, large-scale drawings by American artist Tom Friedman. Fluctuating between the comical and the conceptual, Friedman’s work celebrates the mundane nature of everyday life by looking afresh at objects and their assigned function. The exhibition will be accompanied by a new publication that reproduces nearly a hundred pages from the sketchbooks that this new body of work draws upon. For this exhibition, Friedman revisits a series of entries from sketchbooks he has accumulated over the past 40 years. Friedman’s sketchbooks bring together his sporadic, creative thoughts where word associations, brainstorms and flowcharts sit alongside detailed studies and hurried scribbles. In the exhibition, Friedman enlarges individual pages and images from his sketchbooks and recreates them in photorealistic detail using coloured pencil and watercolour. As a group, they mirror the wit and material complexity that characterises his sculptural works.

Friedman frequently uses his drawings to formally and conceptually break down objects into their most rudimentary parts before subjecting them to material transformation. ‘Self Portrait for Sugar Cubes’ (2018) records the minute workings of this metamorphic process by revealing how ‘Untitled (Self-Portrait)’ (1999), a replica of the artist constructed out of hundreds of sugar cubes, was originally conceived. Featuring a detailed cross-section of Friedman’s body, the artist has fastidiously copied the pixelated diagram on a much larger scale, complete with the original numerical workings and doodles. As with the other works in the exhibition, the sketch’s original function as a preparatory drawing has been negated in favour of celebrating the image’s formal qualities.

Friedman’s work is often autobiographical, recreating arbitrary elements from his own life and personal surroundings. In ‘Mom Watching Shoa’ (2018), the artist’s mother is portrayed in her sitting room watching television. Friedman hones in on areas of chromatic intensity by depicting a bowl of rainbow-coloured jelly beans and a brightly patterned cushion. Characteristically tongue-in-cheek, the work’s vibrancy is in sharp contrast to the solemnity of the nine-hour Holocaust documentary that Friedman’s mother is intensely watching.

Duration 02 October 2018 - 03 November 2018
Times Tuesday - Friday 10am - 6pm Saturday 11am - 5pm
Cost Free
Venue Stephen Friedman Gallery
Address 5–6 Cork Street, London, W1S 3LQ
Contact 4402074941434 / /


, ,