Peter Frie: Path

04 Feb – 12 Mar 2017

Peter Frie's paintings seem, at first sight, to sit conventionally within the long tradition of great landscape painters such as Constable, Dahl, Friedrich and Turner. Certainly Frie's animated brushwork captures all the drama and movement of scudding clouds across the sky and of trees rustling in the wind, and he conveys all the emotional impact of the different seasons or a sudden change in the weather. Frie's landscapes, however, are not straightforwardly representational. He does not depict particular places, but instead invents a fusion of different scenes he has witnessed at various times and in various places, which he later recollects in his studio. Frie enhances this idea that we are looking at the representation of memory, by often leaving unpainted portions of canvas around his landscapes. The scene he has painted therefore hovers in a kind of limbo somewhere between the real and unreal, just like the sudden flash of remembrance. It is this rendering of 'inner' or psychological space which makes Frie's work so captivating and contemporary.


Frie has recently been spending more and more time away from his native Sweden on Phuket. His sojourn in Thailand allies him with artists of the past who also went to foreign countries. Unlike Gauguin or Matisse, however, Frie is not looking for exotic subject matter; no palm trees or monkeys appear in his latest work and instead he continues to paint what he has always painted. However, he has admitted a change to his palette and a new deep red has begun to appear in his work, the kind of vivid colour we experience "more clearly and more intensely closer to the Equator, in the brief moments before the golden orb of the sun dips below the horizon." Another new departure is sculpture and Frie has begun to make dark-patinated bronzes, which are three-dimensional versions of the kinds of trees which appear in his paintings. These are "recognisably a painter's sculptures, given they are shaped as much by light and shade as by the hand... they create their own surrounding world and scale. When we look at them, we can see the air vibrating around them." (Timo Valjakka, Under the Red Sky, 2016)


For 'Path', his first exhibition in this country for six years, Peter Frie has created a series of beautiful new paintings and sculptures especially for the New Art Centre. These include landscapes painted in Frie's distinctive style as well as a large work for the sculpture park. Frie was born in 1947 in Lysekil, Sweden.


He lives and works in Båstad and on Phuket. Examples of his work are in a number of major public collections including the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Kiasma Museum of Modern Art, Helsinki; and the Malmö Museum, Malmö, as well as private collections across Europe. Frie has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Europe and the USA, most recently at the VIDA Museum & Konsthall, Borgholm, Sweden and last showed at the New Art Centre in 2011. In 1998 he was awarded the Ars Fennica, the prestigious prize awarded by the Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation.


Press release

Installation view: Peter Frie, Path, in the gallery
Installation view: Peter Frie, Path, in the gallery
Installation view: Peter Frie, Path, in the gallery
Installation view: Peter Frie, Path, in the gallery
Peter Frie, Big Yamutree, in the park