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Janice Freeman at Cothren Contemporary: Intro by David S. Rubin

In the late 1930s, the Chilean Surrealist Roberto Matta Echaurren introduced the term “psychological morphology” to

refer to his automatic drawings and paintings that he viewed as landscapes of the mind. Interested in the Jungian concept

of a collective unconscious,

I N T R O D U C T I O N

 

In the late 1930s, the Chilean Surrealist Roberto Matta Echaurren introduced the term “psychological morphology” to

refer to his automatic drawings and paintings that he viewed as landscapes of the mind. Interested in the Jungian concept

of a collective unconscious, Matta usually began by making abstract shapes and, via free association, let the images

emerge like they do in dreams – floating about in an amorphous space, and morphing from one thing to the next.

Working from this tradition, Janice Freeman creates large scale collage paintings that incorporate not only dream

imagery, but account also for memory, observation, and the projection of wishes and desires. Inspired by the everyday life

and culture of Mexico, where Freeman has lived and made art for over a decade, the artist creates panoramic vistas

populated with image saturated vignettes that she calls “pods.” Woven together within each panorama, these energetic

thought bubbles are orchestrated into undulating patterns that convey an expressive yet nonlinear narrative of a place full

of intrigue and passion. With a keen eye for detail, very little has escaped Freeman’s attention or imagination – from

mariachis singing and youth romping about, to food for sale or to be consumed in a delicious meal, to the enchanting

varieties of plants, birds, and animals, to the architectural or landscape peculiarities of a locale.

Like Matta, Freeman works from the abstract to the representational, only her process is more labor intensive and

complex in that it involves working with many different mediums. After first treating a Masonite panel with colored

gesso and sand, Freeman prepares the pod areas by defining their edges with cold pressed etching papers and adding more

colored sand gessoes. She then fills in each area by cutting and gluing down fragments from images she has produced in a

variety of formats that include monotypes, sketches, Japanese silk cloths, marbled papers, canvases, and smaller works

on Masonite. As the imagery begins to clarify and come to life, Freeman finalizes each pod and binds one to another

by drawing and rubbing with variously colored pigments.

For the viewer, Freeman’s panoramic collage paintings may be enjoyed like viscerally charged treasure maps for

excavation and discovery; and through their lively and lyrical rhythms, these images move our eyes melodically around a

composition, effectively simulating the very tempos of Mexico itself.

David S. Rubin

The Brown Foundation Curator of Contemporary Art

San Antonio Museum of Art

San Antonio, Texas

Freeman Catalog.2.REV.SMALL