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Bittersweet: Painting the Loom

11/19 Saturday Lecture with Terri Friedman

Terri Friedman, ENOUGH, 2021.

Saturday, 11/19/22 10am PT

Presented In-Person *and* Virtually via Zoom

Koret Auditorium, de Young museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

In-Person Tickets: $5 General Admission \ Free for TAC members.

Virtual Tickets (Zoom): $5 Members of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Students \ $10 General Admission \ Free for TAC members.


After a robust career exhibiting her kinetic and multi-media sculptural work internationally as well as nationally for more than two decades, Terri Friedman made a mid-career transition to weaving in 2014. Weaving has become an extension of her continued practice of investigating painting without paint. A deep investigation into the language of color drives her work. In a catalogue of her work that accompanied her 2020 solo exhibition at the CUE Art Foundation in New York City, writer/curator Alexis Wilkinson wrote: “She approaches the loom with the freedom of a visitor to the form, allowing the gestural touch of a painter.” Though appearing spontaneous, her works are anything but. She spends hours conceiving and digitally painting the pieces before warping her loom.

While showcasing her more recent woven works and large-scale woven murals, in this talk she will also take you through three decades of experimentation, invention, and risk that has led to her current body of work. And despite the daily dread and doom around us, she chooses to be guided and buoyed by an ethos of optimism. Asking herself ‘What is not going wrong?’ and how can we flourish both personally and globally against all odds, her intention is to rewire and redirect the mind and the social climate by weaving pathways of both the sweet as well as the bitter during these tumultuous times.

With the brain as metaphor, the act of weaving itself is an act of unification of warp and weft, of left and right brain. She skillfully weaves new neural pathways in her brain and on her loom. The notion of Neuroplasticity and the brain’s ability to repair neural pathways drives her work. How do we live with heartbreak and gratitude at the same time? This bittersweetness is evident in the work. Though not representational or figurative, her work is also imbued with a body like quality. Orifices, cords appearing intestinal, veiny, and hairy are primary in her work.

Responding to the current climate of anxiety and uncertainty by enlisting color, abstraction, and text to explore topical issues and personal narratives, she explores with fiber the brain-body connection, mental health, illness, and the brain’s ability to rewire psychological and physical trauma. Brain science, in particular research on neuroplasticity and epigenetics, are growing fields that set the context for her work.

Terri Friedman is an internationally recognized artist who lives and works in El Cerrito, California. She is Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts where she has taught both undergraduate and graduate students for the past two decades. Born in Colorado, she received her BA with Honors from Brown University and her MFA from Claremont Graduate School. She has exhibited at such venues as Los Angeles MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary, Contemporary Jewish Museum SF, Long Beach Museum of Art, CODA Museum Netherlands, CUE Art Foundation NYC., Berkeley Art Museum (Art Wall), Friedman Benda Gallery NYC (Curated by Glenn Adamson), James Cohan Gallery NYC (curated by Jenelle Porter), San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (curated by Christine Koppes), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, (curated by Betti-Sue Hertz and Rirkrit Tiravanija), San Jose Museum of Art, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, The Orange County Museum of Art Biennial. Having received critical reviews in Artforum, Art in America, Los Angeles Times, NYTimes and more, in 2019 she was included in ‘Vitamin T: threads and textiles in Contemporary Art’, Phaidon Press. She has received numerous awards including The San Francisco 2021 Artadia Award, FACEBOOK Artist in Residence, Cue Art Foundation Grant, Santa Barbara Arts Fund Grant, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Grant, Albin Polesak Award. In 2022 the De Young Museum acquired her seminal work ‘ENOUGH’ which was completed in 2021.

Image Credit:

Terri Friedman, ENOUGH, 2021, Cotton, wool, acrylic, chenille, hemp and metallic fibers, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, Costume and Textile Arts Trust Fund, 2022.28, Copyright Terri Friedman, Photograph by Randy Dodson.


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