Art that troubles the spirit at CLC
"Petro Canada," by Bill Frederick
‘Here Comes Trouble’
Robert T. Wright Community Gallery of Art, College of Lake County, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake
Through June 29
Call (847) 543-2240 or visit http://gallery.clcillinois.edu
Updated: June 12, 2012 5:50PM
When he paints, Bill Frederick says, it’s like recording a waking dream — a daytime way to reorder conscious experience into a new whole.
If that’s true, then Frederick has been having some pretty unsettling dreams.
“Here Comes Trouble,” Frederick’s new exhibition at the College of Lake County Art Gallery and running until June 29, features paintings of everyday life crafted simply of brush, ink, watercolor and paper. Although the subjects are familiar, Frederick deliberately tries to create an undercurrent of unease in each one.
“I tend to make pictures of austere places, and try to emphasize a subjective point of view,” Frederick said. “In a few cases, people in the pictures return our own stare. I hope the interested viewer will be prompted by the title to see the pictures in a particular light and from there bring her or his own thoughts to them.”
Although Frederick is Chicago born and bred, currently living in West Rogers Park and selling his work at ZG Gallery in River North, he’s often attended shows at the College of Lake County Gallery. A conversation with curator Steve Jones more than a year ago led to his new exhibition.
He chose the title “Here Comes Trouble” because the majority of his work is influenced by what he calls a “nagging sense of dread.” And in this post 9/11 world, Frederick doesn’t think he’s alone.
“I tend to assume that everybody has this sense of concern and apprehension,” Frederick said. “Whether I have it more than other people, I don’t know. I think 9/11 was a confirmation of it for me.”
Whether his audience share his fears or not, however, Frederick wants to create paintings that engage the viewer and prompt a sense of commonality.
“I think of art as being both a form of expression and a form of communication,” he said. “I hope people looking at my pictures see a reflection of their own experience.”
Hence the man in “Guy Smoking” stares straight at the viewer, challenging a reaction. The intimate proximity to a man and woman in “Couple About to Kiss” may provoke a feeling of invading their space. And the long view of streetlights, seen from inside a car in “Rain, Western Avenue,” puts the viewer in the driver’s seat.
“I’m trying to make something that will lend itself to attaching meaning,” he said. “Obviously I’m prompting in a certain direction, but I’m leaving what it means pretty open.”