Articles and Reviews


Repeat repeat

By Edith Newhall

We see grids everywhere, every day - I'm looking through window panes at our neighbors' asphalt shingles right now - but when they're transposed to paintings and drawings, the effect can be hypnotic, even romantic.

At Gallery Joe, Sabine Friesicke's gouache paintings, made up of multiple left-to-right and top-to-bottom strokes, are so densely layered that the squares and rectangles of space left between the strokes can suggest windows, modernist houses, city blocks. They're abstract but familiar, like memories and dreams.

They are also illusionistic and more random than they appear to be at first. In Red and grey lines, for example, horizontal lines are pale gray at the top of the painting, and become progressively darker as they continue to the bottom, giving the effect of the top being closer and the bottom receding. Each of the red rectangles between the gray stripes is made up of a lighter and a darker red, suggesting brick industrial buildings seen at an angle, one wall in shadow.

Many of Friesicke's new paintings are explorations of gray and pink, using metallic gouache as gray. They're more atmospheric than her works in strong colors shown here in 2009 and more seemingly responsive to the gallery's light. They are completely abstract but nonetheless reminiscent of Georgia O'Keeffe's nocturnal views of New York's midtown skyscrapers painted from her room in the Shelton Hotel between 1926 and 1929.

Gallery Joe, 302 Arch St., noon to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. 215-592-7752 or
Through June 13.
Philadelphia City Paper, 2009


by Lori Hill

Like William Penn designing the early streets of Philadelphia, Sabine Friesicke
works from a grid. Methodically pulling her brush from left to right and top to bottom.
Friesicke creates layers upon layers with the treasure on the end- a rich, shimmery glint of gold beaming from below.
Friesicke’s show at Gallery Joe, “Gold”, works from the premise that with patterning and artistic devotion, small wonders will emerge.
Born in Germany, Friesicke, who studied at the Liberal Academy of Arts in Hamburg and now works out of NYC, immerses her gridwork in scarlet reds and royal blues and the blackest of black. It’s nice to see the artist explore the effects of color on her unique painterly technique. Earlier works leaned more to the monochromatic- whites,beiges, ochres.
How the colors play with the gold base changes depending on the shade, the light and the perspective of the viewer, yet it’s always deeply engaging.
In some works, the effect is one of flickering lights, like the windows on a moonlit skyscraper or an aerial glimpse of a city at night.
Friesicke makes her patterns anything but repetitious.


Light in the Basement

by Michael Amy

"Light in the Basement," Sabine Friesicke's exhibition at Robert Steele Gallery, included 11 square paintings in acrylic on canvas, 64 by 64 inches each, and three small acrylic drawings on paper (all works except one 2003). These abstract compositions are part of an ongoing series she has been working on for years.
Friesicke's method of production is straightforward. She first paints the ground of her picture in one color. Next, she draws horizontal bands freehand across the entire width of the picture in a different color.
Finally, she allows a more liquid acrylic of the same color as the bands to run at narrow intervals down the height of the canvas, thereby creating irregular streaks that do not always reach the bottom of the picture. The somewhat dense edges of these streaks frame lightly transparent spines at their centers.
Part of the appeal of these paintings lies in the minute variations between the hand-drawn bands and free-running streaks.The tonal contrasts that arise when a streak crosses over a band cause the grid to flicker. The lines frame small irregular rectangles in the ground color; this difference in hue increases the subtle glow and pulse of the picture.
Friesicke is interested in repetition and consequently in seriality. Her studio is a laboratory in which she experiments with various color combinations, degrees of liquidness, and/or tighter or looser intervals between wider or narrower bands and streaks.
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