Smoked Whitefish, Screenprints on Laser-Cut Acrylic, Metal, 2019
Fish on Chain, Screenprints on Laser-Cut Acrylic and Metal Chain, 2019
Smoked Whitefish, Mixed Media, 2018
Yaddah Flags, Silk Screen on Nylon, Wood, Plastic, and Metal, 2018.
Yaddah Jacket, Embroidery on Nylon, 2018
Yaddah Yaddah Yaddah Installation Shot, Mixed Media, 2019
Spring, Screenprints on Composition Vinyl Tile and Wood Panel, 2019.
Yaddah Yaddah Yaddah is an exploration into questions of identity, social inclusion and exclusion, and gender and cultural stereotypes. As a heteronormative cis-gendered Jewish woman, while on many levels I pass in contemporary popular culture, I am very aware of the echos of my own minority status, and the screams of others. The question of how to define the edges of a group is one that plagues both conservative and liberal factions alike. From radical feminist groups excluding transwomen to ultra-orthodox Jews claiming only those born to Jewish mothers, these divisions have the effect of pushing away collaborators, alienate sympathizers, and perhaps undermine the values of the group all together. How do we at once celebrate these differences, but also cross these boundaries both created by us and for us? Many of us know the power of feeling included in something bigger than ourselves. In a time for movements, how do we come together to create our chorus of shared voices (rather than a unified voice)? In this exhibition, I propose a new gang on the block. As we say “yaddah, yaddah, yaddah”—a phrase used by the speaker to skip over elements in a story—we become the Yaddah Yaddah Yaddahs, a group calling for all of those skipped over to join together.
In this project and others, you can see how I am infinitely curious about how we represent ourselves and how others see us. Parody, appropriation, and collage-techniques tie together what I make in the studio to larger movements in contemporary culture. Primarily working with techniques in printmaking, I am also interested in alternative materials, installation, and sculpture. It is my hope that the hanging of this exhibition is only the start of a wide range of collaborations with performance and video, musicians, writers, thinkers, and general inquisitors.
Yaddah Yaddah Yaddah is my lighthouse in the night, my cattle call, to all of those out there struggling with our current times, but still yearning for connection, driven to action.
Leslie Friedman is an artist and educator who specializes in printmaking, sculpture, and installation. She has a BA in political theory from Brown University and an MFA in printmaking from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Between her undergraduate and graduate course of study, Friedman spent two and a half years living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and built a screenprinting studio in her apartment there. Friedman is an active player in the alternative gallery world. She founded the art collective NAPOLEON in 2011 which is comprised of ten artist and curatorial members with a gallery space in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. She is currently a member of Good Children in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Gallery in Baton Rouge. In 2014, Friedman completed a fellowship at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists and won the Fleisher Wind Challenge. She has participated in residency at Shiro Oni in Japan and the Studios at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally with some highlights including solo shows at Space 1026 in Philadelphia, Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and the Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington. Her work deals with political and social themes like identity, simulacra, stereotype, gender, and religion.