Whitehot Magazine

German Painter Fabian Freese's New York Moment

The German abstract artist Fabian Freese in his studio. Mr. Freese will have a solo exhibition opening at New York's Lazy Susan Gallery on June 6th, 2017.

Fabian Freese, "Rainbow Inside" at Lazy Susan Gallery
Opening reception 7th of June 6 - 8 pm


Fabian Freese was born in 1982 in Wuppertal, Germany. He grew up at his parents house in Velbert, which is a small town near Wuppertal. His childhood house had a big garden with a forest directly behind it. He spent a lot of time with nature when he was a child – this influenced Freese greatly. Other influences have entered his work during his travels around the globe. “Fabian Freese's work is fascinating because each series is made both in his studio and during his travels, when venturing to show new work for an exhibition. Along with exhibiting art in different cities, Freese begins making new site-specific representations that are then refined at his studio in Germany. They are then exhibited at a different city and site, where another new series begins. This ongoing stream of ideas is fascinating, if not non-stop,” says writer, AS|Artist’s Studios founder and Lazy Susan Gallery director Jill Conner. Freese’s sense of aesthetics, an interaction with travel and his compositional sense is evidence of the influence of and use of the natural world in his art. Ellsworth Kelly can be placed in that area of nature influenced abstract painting, so Freese is in good company. Since his early childhood Freese attended art classes in the afternoon after elementary school, then eventually did graffiti for a few years. Then at age 24 Freese moved to Wuppertal where he lives today in a very open minded quarter of the city. An open minded area in the sense that people from different parts of the world live in harmony there. In this quarter of the city Freese has a storefront studio with a showroom for his art inside. Sometimes people come in and ask questions about his art and Freese always take the time to discuss, “They like my approach to contemporary art,” he explains. 

Noah Becker: Where your parents and siblings encouraging of your art career? Do you have a brother or sister and what is their occupation?

Fabian Freese: My parents supported my art from the time I was a small child. In elementary school I did art classes in an institution in our town. When I was in high school, I always had the best grades in art - it was so easy for me to paint or draw pictures. My mother always saw that I was gifted with my sense for art. So after the high school I went to a special school for art and design in Wuppertal and it became clearer and clearer that this would be my passion. I decided to make art my occupation in life. So in 2006 in I started to study visual art at the Fadbk in Essen, which is a private art academy that charges a fee for classes. So my parents supported me to get a first class art education. I really learned a lot in my 5 ½ years at the academy. Also today they come to most of my shows in Germany. My brother is not involved with art; he works with disabled people and shows them how to use modern technology and how to use the Internet.

Fabian Freese, Rainbow on Brandenburg Gate Berlin, Lightpainting Photo on paper, 40 x 60 cm, 2017 

NB: Do you have an occupation other than art? Or is art a full time thing? 

FF: I also work in a home for disabled people and assist them, cook with them etc. - this is a very nice job. This job supports my art career - because of it I am able to pay flights to my shows around the world. At the moment I do 36 hours per week and on top of that about 25 - 30 hours per week for the art. But my plan is to reduce the hours on work to have more time left for creating artworks. My career is moving in this direction and it’s very exciting, especially showing in New York at Lazy Susan Gallery.

NB: How does the new work relate to the paintings I've seen of yours in the past?

FF: The new works for the solo show "Rainbow Inside" are very conceptual and specially made for this show. They are Light-painting photos from around the world, which is a typical thing for my art and in this case I added a composition of faded rainbow colors of wood sticks from which I will build my site-specific installation at Lazy Susan Gallery - it is a new progression of my artistic work but is connected to all my other works.

Fabian Freese, Rainbow on Opera House Sydney, Lightpainting Photo on paper, 40 x 60 cm, 2017

NB: Is that a shift in style for you, or do you have different ways of working?

FF: I work on very different Series of artworks, I think in the moment I am working on about 10 - 12. All these series have a bit different concepts but are all connected to each other. These all have my signature style with bright clear colors; sometimes color fields or vertical lines. My work is always in progress and I am adding new elements or change old elements, from time to time I reflect this series. I do paintings, photos, light painting, and mixed media photos with painting, objects and objects with photos. I try to rethink traditional art ideas and I try to go over these borders in a lot works.

NB: What is it about showing in New York that interests you as an artist?

FF: For me it was always a dream as an artist to have a solo show in NYC since my first years at the art academy. Last year I had my first solo show at Lazy Susan Gallery in New York and I really enjoyed this experience a lot. As I was on the plane from Germany I had such a good feeling about the whole NY thing - for me it is the center of the art world. When I was in New York I did about 1500 photos in 10 days. Some of them are in the upcoming show at Lazy Susan Gallery. It is such a great experience with all these influences from all these people from all around the world. Now I am 34 I have my second solo show in New York City, this makes me very proud. All this hard work on creating the art and to market it slowly pays out. Since 2011 I have joined exhibitions in many countries in Europe, America, Asia and Australia. So I’m not just thinking about New York as the only place to show my work. 

Fabian Freese,  Rainbow on Skyline New York City 01, Lightpainting Photo on paper, 40 x 60 cm, 2017

NB: Do you have some goals for your career over the next few years?

FF: I hope I can reduce or quit the job in the home for disabled people in a few years to be able to get my whole focus on creating and traveling the world to my shows. I also hope that some museum collections will discover my artworks and me in the next few years.  

NB: Do you have a favorite color? What is the meaning of color in paintings?

FF: My favorite color is blue, but not just blue, I like blue in combination with a contrasting color like yellow, also blue with bright pink is a nice pairing - or green with red. For me the color is a main element that can transport feelings and expressions to the viewer. Some of my works have a subtle color aura around the canvas from the reflecting light on the wall because of the edges in bright fluorescent neon colors. For me it is a main theme how colors communicate and support each other. I often work with contrasting colors to get a very expressive color effect. I also work with how different colors appear in the space of color fields and play with that interaction. 

Fabian Freese, Rainbow on Eiffeltower Paris, Lightpainting Photo on paper, 40 x 60 cm, 2017

NB: Are there influences that you think of every time you make art?

FF: Sure, there are names like Barnett Newman, Bridget Riley etc. that influenced my work in the beginning. But now I am more influenced by the experiences I get in my everyday life with people watching and studying their behavior and communication between each other. Also during the many travels I do around the world to my exhibitions where I always speak with many people. Like taxi drivers, people on the street, I ask for the way etc., I reflect all these experiences and adventures in my artworks and let this influence my work. I am very open-minded and see worth in most people and treat everybody with respect. 

NB: Being polite is a good quality to have in New York. What's coming up after your show at Lazy Susan Gallery, do you have more projects on the horizon?

FF: My next solo show after NY is my exhibition "Fast Forward" at Factory 49 Gallery Sydney Australia in November of this year. I will be there for 3 weeks again - last year I had a solo show in Adelaide Australia and I was in Sydney after it. I had a meeting at the gallery in Sydney and confirmed the show for this year. Some art fairs will also come up till next year with some of the six galleries that represent me. WM



Noah Becker

Noah Becker is an artist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. He shows his paintings internationally at museums and galleries. Becker also plays jazz saxophone. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010). Becker's new album of original music "Mode For Noah" was released in 2023. 


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