Artist Statement: In her work Lynda Frese explores the intricate ethical and spiritual dimensions of our place in the natural world. In this epoch time, we are seeing clearly how the fates of humanity and Nature are intertwined. Her photocollage paintings borrow from religious and mythological themes, recasting them as environmental devotions.
There is an urgent conversation about wilderness in Frese’s collage compositions. Her photography subjects come from both the natural world and ancient world heritage sites, where the history of human settlement and its politics and culture are illuminated. Her art practice has been influenced by encounters with prehistoric art, like the site-specific rock engravings of Valcamonica, Italy, and the standing stones of Brittany which consistently appear in her work. Additionally, Frese often borrows images, palettes, and spiritual themes from early Italian Renaissance painters she has studied, utilizing the vernacular iconography of myth and religion to speak about the environment.
Using ground earth pigments from a variety of sites, and local egg yolks as a binder, egg tempera mixture is painted over the photo collage constructions. The artist views these earthen and organic materials as analogous to a kind of terroir (environmental condition and location) for the artworks.
Lynda Frese is a visual artist based in South Louisiana. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she taught for 30 years. Originally from New England, she earned her BFA and MFA from the University of California at Davis, and was a fellow at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Frese has been an artist-in-residence at the Rockefeller Bellagio Foundation, the Bogliasco Center, and the American Academy in Rome; for 3 years in Costa Rica; and for the past 10 years at rural residencies in Assisi and Valcamonica, Italy. Frese’s work, which combines photography and painting, has been exhibited in Europe, South America, and across the U.S. Her work is found in private and public collections including the Houston Museum of Fine Arts; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Ogden Museum of Southern Art; the Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY; the Shrem Museum in Davis, CA; the High Museum of Art; the Mississippi Museum of Art, and the Hilliard Art Museum in Lafayette, LA. Ms. Frese received Artist of the Year at the 2016 Louisiana Cultural Awards for her sustained work celebrating the culture and history of the South.