Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Lucy Fradkin

Lucy Fradkin

I am a self taught artist whose passion for art and art-making has informed my life for as long as I can remember. I was raised in and near New York City and have had the great fortune to use the myriad museums as a resource for intensive personal study. I remember visiting the Brooklyn Museum as a young artist with my mother, a feminist, to see The Dinner Party when it was first exhibited in 1979. The iconography of the graphic and design styles of the 1940's and 50's, from which I draw my early aesthetic sensibilities, influences my work to this day. I have dedicated my life work to developing a personal voice and a skilled craft.

In 1991, I spent several months traveling in Mexico and Guatemala. The indigenous art and hand-painted signage inspired new directions in my own art-making.

In 1992, I was awarded an artist residency in Altos de Chavon, an affiliate of Parson School of Design in the Dominican Republic. From there I traveled to Haiti which was a life-changing experience for me as an artist.

In 1994, I traveled to Greece and Italy and saw first hand the ancient frescoes and mosaics I had been studying for years. I felt such affinity with this work that I started traveling to Italy regularly to live amidst this inspiration. In 2002-2003, I spent a year living, working, exhibiting and lecturing in Italy. Based in Rome I was able to travel extensively around the country further informing my work through a visual immersion into these ancient worlds.

I have received numerous awards including a Pollock Krasner Grant (2009), a Gottlieb Foundation Grant (2007) and two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships (2005, 1995) among others. I have exhibited widely in the United States, Europe and Mexico.

Throughout these years, in addition to exhibiting, and teaching, I have lectured on my work at many institutions including Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbertide, Italy (2008),Anderson Ranch in Aspen, Colorado (2006), Hunter College in New York City (2006), Sala Convegni Camera di Commercio in Cagliari, Italy (2003), Rhode Island School of Design Rome Program in Rome, Italy (2003), Temple University Rome Program in Rome, Italy (2003), The American Academy in Rome (2002),The Islip Art Museum in East Islip, NY (2002) and The New York Public Library (2001).
Replete with references to the ancient frescoes and mosaics of the Etruscans, Romans and Byzantines, my paintings capture a timeless moment through a contemporary eye. For the past twelve years, I have concentrated on a series of figurative works, mostly of women, painted in oil or gouache on paper or board. Inspired by Indian and Persian miniatures, the vanishing art of hand-painted signage and a variety of sacred and folk arts, I create portraits of diverse individuals. Following in the tradition of genre painters, I often place my figures in domestic settings. The figures are quiet and inactive contributing to the solemn atmosphere of the scene.

At times, I incorporate collaged decorative elements from a variety of sources including old catalogs, field guides and vintage books into the work. Through meticulous cutting and pasting, I develop intricate designs and motifs which become a subtle aspect of the surface of the work. I use color and pattern to evoke emotion and tell stories of daily life where the viewer is drawn into an intimate world. My work is clearly inspired by the traditional, but the impact of personal history is evident in the quiet presentation of issues of gender and race.

View Lucy Fradkin's CV (PDF)

Birds Of A FeatherMay The Circle Be UnbrokenWhen The Years Behind You Become More Than The Years In FrontThe Pursuit Of Knowledge And The Practice Of Ethical ConductElegance, Simplicity And The Power Of The SpiritAs The World Turns39 Birds, 2 Women and A Boy

Brooklyn, NY


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