12379 - 20170212 - Site-specific work by Terri Friedman on view in Berkeley, CA - 25.08.2016-12.02.2017

Terri Friedman: If you are hit on the head with a kaleidoscope, does that mean you see stars? (detail), 2016; acrylic, wool, and cotton fibers; courtesy of the artist. Photo: Sibila Savage.

The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive presents Art Wall: Terri Friedman, on view from August 25, 2016 through February 12, 2017. For the second in BAMPFA’s series of site-specific works commissioned for the 24 x 64-foot Art Wall, Director Lawrence Rinder invited East Bay artist Terri Friedman to create what she calls a “yarn painting.” This ten-panel, mural-scaled textile of hand-tinted and commercially dyed organic and synthetic fibers, entitled If you are hit on the head with a kaleidoscope, does that mean you see stars?, is the largest artwork Friedman has made. The title refers to the artist’s desire to create “a wake-up wall, something that might speak to time and place.”

Terri Friedman has explored a wide variety of media in her artistic career but only recently turned to weaving. She was inspired by a mural-sized tapestry designed by Joan Miró and woven by artist Josep Royo that she saw on a 2013 trip to Barcelona, Spain. She is interested in the texture and fibers of yarn, an attraction that began in her grandmother’s knitting room, noting that “we are sensual beings, materials matter.” Friedman’s bold use of color is inspired by her travels in India and her childhood during the psychedelic sixties: “Color is emotion,” she states.” Color has the potential to uplift, destroy, calm, energize, make you anxious. It is potent like a drug.”

If you are hit on the head with a kaleidoscope, does that mean you see stars? addresses contemporary issues. While weaving the pieces for this monumental textile on her four-foot loom, Friedman was experiencing “all the unhinged aspects of the contemporary world,” from senseless acts of terror and violence, both in the United States and abroad, to the divisiveness of the presidential campaign, as well as the death of a close friend. The work consists of three sections that reflect this context: inspiration or radioactivity on the left, a calmer patchwork transition area in the center, and the right side about light coming through loss, a memorial. “The climate is radioactive and so are the woven panels,” Friedman says. “The wall is purposefully colorful and bright in the face of difficult times. The term ‘violent pretty’ keeps coming to mind. Ultimately lightness outshines darkness. Grief and anger are not darkness. Fear and indifference are. I wanted an electricity or radioactivity that mirrored the time and place.”

Born in Colorado and educated in Rhode Island, India, and Los Angeles, Friedman is an artist, teacher, mother, and global traveler. She received her MFA from the Claremont Graduate School and has exhibited her work widely, including at the Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco; the Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; the Cheryl Numark Gallery, Washington DC; and the Torrance Art Museum in Torrance, California. She is a senior adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts. Weaving is Friedman’s latest step in a continuum of painting, sculpture, fiber, collaboration, community, social media, and pedagogy.