"Light is like oxygen in a painting; without it a painting is dead. It doesn't breathe. " - Jane Freilicher
As we change our clocks, the effect of seasonal light is on our minds.
Dark Afternoon was painted from Freilicher's lower Manhattan apartment in late autumn. Gray light coming in through the window gives no explanation for the concentrated liveliness of the plants on the yellow tablecloth or its source. It's focus is on the light in retreat. Freilicher used her home as her studio. Her still lifes are not posed; they just are. She never strayed far from home, dividing her time between the city and Water Mill, Long Island.
Unlike, say, artists beginning with Chardin, Freilicher did not isolate her subjects against a neutral background. This tradition in still life painting began in 17th century Europe. Then in the 19th century the still life began to appear in landscapes.
Freilicher does not seem preoccupied with composition, the resulting effect is one of freshness. Her paintings are filled with specific details but the artist withholds narrative cues. Rather, she integrates them into a natural backdrop - landscape becomes part of the still life. The two elements remain separate but share a common ambience. Domestic and natural settings have a relaxed relationship as they do in life. For her objects become events to be regarded with curiosity.
Image; Jane Freilicher - Dark Afternoon, 2001, oil on linen, Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute, Utica