Reviews

Ethereal/Real at Causey Contemporary
by D. Dominick Lombardi, Huffington Post
Elise Freda, who I've mentioned in a previous interview with Moses Hoskins presents two decidedly vertical mixed media works that extol certain aspects of eastern sensibility and sensitivity toward nature and chance while at the same time commanding a great level of balance. 
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Elise Freda – Where Earth Meets Sky
by Lance Esplund, The Wall Street Journal
Eastern exoticism has inspired Western artists for centuries. Abstract painter Elise Freda works in encaustic and straddles a world somewhere between East and West. Her flat, hard-edged single-color rectangles cite European Modernism, and her gestural brushstrokes nod to Asian calligraphy. Ms. Freda, internalizing and synthesizing a range of influences, achieves brevity, poetry.
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Line, Grid, Pattern: The Geometry of Art
by Benjamin Genocchio, The New York Times
"The Grid" includes an impressive diversity of creative responses to this theme, ranging from accomplished abstractions by Elise Freda...

Elise Freda – Absence/Presence
by Thomas Micchelli, The Brooklyn Rail
Elise Freda’s paintings are seductive—exquisitely so—but they’re also tough-minded and dicey. They risk prettiness but don’t succumb to it. In fact, some of the newest work turns its back on elegance altogether with curdling, acidic colors smeared roughshod across the painting’s breadth.
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Elise Freda – Gesture and Geometry: Encaustic Painting
by D. Dominick Lombardi, The New York Times
The current show at Henaine Miranda, a wonderful show that should delight most proponents of Non-Objective Art, features encaustic paintings by Elise Freda... Ms. Freda's art has a marvelous tactile quality. She embeds paper elements into and under the wax... Ms. Freda also has an incomparable sense of design – a factor that becomes quite evident in the effortless way she moves from small to big canvases...
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Drawings, Revealing Quirks and Idiosyncrasies
by William Zimmer, The New York Times
"Nature, Language, Symbol: the Poetics of Drawing," is a meditation on line being put through its paces. Elise Freda's geometric paintings feature bright red encaustic..."

Turning Photographs into the Metaphorical
by Helen A. Harrison, The New York Times
"Among noteworthy examples is Elise Freda's 'X & M,' a collage of word and letter fragments trapped in translucent wax. Like the enigmatic text that results from peeling layers of old posters, the pieces combine to make a new and intriguing meaning."

Multi-layering of colors, textures makes encaustic works bloom
Marist College hosts national show

by Nicole Edwards, Poughkeepsie Journal
Elise Freda, who worked with oil paint for years, turned to encaustics when she learned she had more freedom to create. "In the process of my oil painting, I would layer and layer and scrape and scrape," said Freda, who has found the process an ideal collage medium. "Once I discovered hot wax, it was like opening a huge door. It made it faster and more pleasurable and actually heightened the things I was trying to do with oil."

Schick Art Gallery/Saratoga Springs: Elise Freda and Bruno LaVerdiere, by William Jaeger, Art New England:
There have been several good shows recently in the small college town of Saratoga Springs, and this two-person affair persuaded with its emotional clarity and visual coherence. Freda's rectilinear encaustic paintings and LaVerdiere's archetypal sculptural geometries deal with surfaces that imply space as much as they create it. There is a literal illusionism in the encaustics made of layered, messy, translucent squares that align and overlap with the squishy, faux depths unique to the medium.
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Resurgence of ancient Greek art, by Dana Vernier, Peterborough Transcript:
Randall Hoel, Director of Exhibitions at the Sharon Arts Center, has chosen five artists from around the country to represent the encaustic medium in an exhibit entitled "Pigment and Wax: The Art of Encaustic Painting." .....The exhibit combines paintings by newer artists, whose careers are just starting to take off, with the work of artists like Freda, who have been featured in several solo and group shows over many years. "The reasons I am passionate about encaustic," Freda said, "are because wax hardens in a matter of minutes. Once it has cooled, I can put down another layer of wax, then another. It's a very fast medium. I have to work very fast. I like not knowing exactly what's going to happen. I thrive on that, but it could be a drawback to someone who relishes control." Freda said, "Encaustic is tremendously versatile. It can be dense and opaque, or it can be sheer and transparent. The color can be intense or delicate, and everything in between. Encaustic is sensuous, beautiful, and durable."

Cheltenham art better every year, by Victoria Donohoe, The Philadelphia Inquirer:
All the picking and choosing among the exhibit's 52 works that were taken from 272 entries this time was done by Susan Rosenberg, the Philadelphia Museum of Art's assistant curator of modern and contemporary art, which also might seem to give the show a special cachet.....Reflecting that diversity are the artists she has singled out for awards, Elise Freda among them. The artists here do quite often possess expressive freedom. This is why Rosenberg chose them, and why this is an art show you must see and savor.

Repetition by design, by Michelle Carroll, Poughkeepsie Journal:
"In these pieces, a dialogue between each layer, each shape used is formed where you can really see the layers and you can still see the progression of the thought process by the artists," said Donise English, director of Steel Plant Studios Art Gallery at Marist College. Freda's abstract, angular and structural pieces reveal the encaustic technique of fusing beeswax, both plain and with pigment, on wood. Because beeswax leaves a translucent film, each layer is visible. "I like to put a lot down to cover images up and then scrape parts away," said Freda. "What you can see and can't see adds a little mystery."

Layer it on, by Noah Fleisher, Taconic Newspapers:
Elise Freda's nine encaustic with collage pieces take a somewhat different tack. Beginning with images that are quite direct, Freda layers on the perspective with pigmented wax fused to the surface of the painting. The feeling of the pieces like that of memory, is one that is distorted, highlighted and refracted. The original image becomes as many things as the viewer can find in it. "There's a certain mystery in being able to see down into the depths." she says. "Mine are images that reveal and conceal themselves at the same time." The original primal images of Freda's works, somewhat spare, speak to a place of gut response, rather than intellectual scrutiny.

Profiles of local artists. Elise A. Freda: Artist, by Elaine Dantzler, The River Reporter.
Elise Freda’s paintings involve evolution—not Darwin’s, but the gradual emergence of the shapes and textures created by building up and scraping down layers of wax. Freda appreciates the properties of wax—the way it impregnates, preserves, hardens fast, and lends permanence—and so finds it perfect for creating textures, for applying thin layers with varying degrees of opacities through fusing, and for floating images in and out.

Minimalism gets a sense of humor, review by Nancy Stapen, The Boston Globe:
Minimalism of a very different sort is on view at the Randall Beck Gallery, which is showing three New England artists who work on a small scale. Two of the artists’ images appear abstract, but they’re inspired by nature. In Elise Freda’s case, fossils and ancient artifacts are translated into oval shapes. The white ground in which they float shows traces of many previous layers of color, sensitively handled, which form an analogy to the layers of time.

Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery/ Portsmouth. 5th Annual Omer T. Lassonde Juried Exhibition, review by Margot Clark, Art New England.
Elise Freda should be counted among emerging young painters. Her work has evolved from a dematerialized biomorphic abstraction toward more volumetric forms rendered through a layering of color-shot grays that take full advantage of the translucent wax medium.

An Inviting Abstract, review by Alice Fuld, The Keene Sentinel.
Elise Freda’s work on display in the Killian Gallery is as dominated by blue as Emmart-Lieberman’s is by red. Freda starts with rocks, or rather, the cracks in rocks. Her approach is illustrated by a photograph and two sketchy studies for a larger work. The photograph is an extreme close up of fractures in a rock. A quick pencil study retains some sense of the photo, while in pastel only a few of the lines are left. Freda’s large finished works, oil on paper, retain a sense of boulders, if you are aware of her process, but they are pleasing, orderly abstractions in shimmering shades of blue.

Sharon Arts Center/Sharon—Interior/Exterior: Four Visions, review by Margot Clark, Art New England.
The two most abstract painters are inspired by landscape forms. Elise Freda has long been attuned to coastal tidal pools and splintered, sea-wet rocks. A linear network fills the canvas and expands beyond the margins as it flows through an atmospheric blue-gray ground, punctuated with flickers of intense color—a yellow here, a magenta there. The most engaging compositions feature dramatic changes in density and scale of the rounded shapes emerging from skeins of lines, plus sudden concentrations of dark values and strong color accents, as in "Landscape with Birds."

NH Art Association, review by Staci Milbouer , The Nashua Telegraph.
But it would have been refreshing to see more examples fine expressionistic work such as "Open Heart" —a stunning and daring oil and wax painting by Milford artist Elise Freda.

A broad spectrum. Faber Birren Color Award Show highlights experiments in color, review by Kate Jennings, Fairpress.
In the first floor gallery, Elise Freda’s "Blueprint" harkens back to cave drawings at Lascaux. This oil and pastel on paper is a series of blue and black markings on a gray, stone-colored background. These curved and linear schemata recall animal forms, and the look of erasure heightens the sense of age and lends a certain mystery to the painting.

Blackthorne Gallery/Portsmouth. Abstract Visions: Elise Freda and Lydia Staab, review by Margot Clark, Art New England.
Here two young painters seem to reconsider some of the undeveloped possibilities of 1950’s gestural abstraction. As in the case of earlier styles such as impressionism and cubism, rapid reduction to a commercially palatable formula made painterly abstraction look like a dead end to most ambitious artists in succeeding years. After a quarter-century, new sensibilities without pretense to the cosmic are again able to use gestural means to make individual statements. Weather and sea change inhabit Elise Freda’s horizontally expansive pictorial spaces, which suggest cloud cover or tidal foam in low-keyed, bluish to lavender grays. Emerging from the flux are gently rounded shapes, given soft-edged definition by black pastel interlaces and evanescent volume by off-white scumble or dashes of high-keyed orange, red-violet, or cerulean. The emotional tone is contemplative, though in "Ancient Flight" the black skeins dance rhythmically across the surface, while in "Landscape with Birds", a diagonal, black line flow establishes an emphatic focal node.

The Life of an artist, by Kathy Cleveland, The Milford Cabinet.
To evoke a sense of the passage of time in her abstract paintings, Freda puts down on canvas a great deal of paint, then scrapes off layers to reveal earlier incarnations of her work. The results of building, scraping and rebuilding echo the weathering process of nature.