Where Earth Meets Sky
92 Wythe Avenue
By Lance Esplund
The Wall Street Journal
January 8, 2011
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.
Ch'i Contemporary Fine Art
By Thomas Micchelli
The Brooklyn Rail
In an art scene that makes a virtue of anarchy, careening from the shrill to the fatalistic without a dominant direction or commanding style, a shot of unadulterated beauty like Elise Freda’s abstractions at Ch’i Contemporary Fine Art can feel both clarifying and unsettling. Clarifying because they reaffirm the modernist impulse toward economy of means and formal rigor, unsettling because they plague the critical sensibility with doubts and qualifiers. Are they really as good as they look? Or are they just skin-deep, fleeting, out of sight, out of mind? And what, if anything, do they bring to the table? Is sheer beauty enough?
Gesture and Geometry: Encaustic Painting
Henaine Miranda Contemporary Art Projects
By D. Dominick Lombardi
The New York Times
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Encaustic painting dates back as far as the fifth century B.C. and, more recently, has been given new life by artists like Jasper Johns.
The current show at Henaine Miranda, a wonderful show that should delight most proponents of Non-Objective Art, features encaustic paintings by Elise Freda.
Ethereal/Real at Causey Contemporary
by D. Dominick Lombardi, Huffington Post
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...
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.
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.