Tom Friedman often begins his creative process by meditatively observing an object and imagining how it might perform in a particular space. He takes a mundane object to his studio and examines it for its inherent potential.
Untitled, first presented in 1989, is a distorted square painted in toothpaste. The chosen form intentionally challenges the viewer’s sense of perspective and is adapted for each installation. Friedman or an assistant applies the transparent turquoise gel directly onto the wall, smearing it with their bare hands in several layers. Inspired by Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings, the painting is one of his self-professed seminal works:
It’s a necessary work in a grouping of works that have to do with my history. It represents my beginning, and I grow from this point. It’s a point of reference. Tom Friedman
In using the objects that occupy our everyday lives, Friedman comments on our consumerist existence. He turns the ordinary into the extraordinary, challenging us to observe, discover and interpret.
Liv Stoltz, former Curator Program & Education, September 2012