art work

Wisdom of the East

Measurements: 125x125cm

Year: 2022

Technique: Acrylic, charcoal and oil stick on natural linen canvas.

Curatorial Text

Born in the majestic mountains of South Tyrol, Rebekka Frei wields a powerful tool of expression in her hands: natural linen. Her linen canvases are meticulously chosen and explored, unveiling unique textures and qualities that resonate with her roots and personal experiences. It is within this context that Rebekka transforms the material into visual narratives that transcend time and her creative endeavors.

Rebekka is a great collector of memories; her sources of inspiration come from old sepia and grayscale portraits. These vintage images, often of well-known personalities, serve as the foundation for her work. Stories of strong women and feminist narratives are also part of her repertoire of inspiration. She abstracts these images and realities masterfully, giving them a new pose and style, creating a dichotomy between the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Rebekka’s style is a masterful synthesis of abstraction and figuration, with realistic, anatomical elements and some elements of the Pop art movement. She not only creates stunning compositions but also offers insightful perspectives on contemporary society. Her works reflect virtues and vices, as well as the complex social implications and impulses of modernity. “Wisdom of the East” is a composition that captivates the observer with its abstract brushstrokes. The piece is dominated by shades of blue, complemented by warm colors like red and orange. The eyes portrayed within the brushstrokes and gestures exude depth and grandeur.

The painting offers multiple layers that reveal themselves over time, conveying a certain mystery. The element of the gaze within Rebekka’s works can encompass various meanings; it can represent the unconscious, desire, strength, protection, consciousness, and introspection. As Maurice Merleau-Ponty stated, “The eye sees through the body, and the body through the eye.” In Rebekka’s philosophy of perception, she delves deeply into the phenomenology of perception and how our understanding of the world is influenced by the relationship between the eye and the body. It is an invitation to reflect on how we perceive and comprehend the world through our senses and bodily experience.

Rebekka is an artist who is unafraid to experiment and evolve. In recent years, she has added a new dimension to her art with the technique of “spray art.” Her vibrant brushstrokes interact with portraits and landscapes, creating a fresh perspective on modernity. The artist uses spray cans to perpetuate the story of her compositions, bridging the past and present with a burst of colors and energy.

Art is more than a vocation for Rebekka; it is a safe, stimulating, and transformative refuge. She fondly recalls moments from her childhood when she would sit with colored pencils, reproducing portraits of her grandmother and famous painters. Today, painting continues to be a refuge, but in a new and enriching way. Rebekka finds nourishment and fulfillment in art, not in pursuit of perfection but to express the journey of life and her own experiences. Each work is a note in her creative journey.

A deep exploration delving into the history of successful women from the past, a rediscovery bridging the world of yesterday and that of tomorrow in search of the present. Her works are not static, but rather “stories on canvas,” a linen canvas that narrates a new concept of modernity.

For the artist, painting represents a “safe, stimulating, and new refuge,” and she draws complete nourishment from art. Her way of seeing and engaging with the world reflects perfectly in her artworks, as if they spoke on her behalf.

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Artistic Statement

The trees raise their branches to the sky, while their roots go down into the earth. Living and growing between the past and the future, they have always asserted themselves in the present. This is how Rebekka Frei carries out her artistic research. She seeks inspiration in the past, so its future is narrated in the artist own present with a brand-new perspective. Rebekka is a great collector of memories: old sepia and gray portraits. They are such a source of inspiration for her that she reproduces them on linen canvases. She abstracts these vintage images, mostly of celebrities, to give them a new, ordinary and common pose and style.

“But that is not all, there is more”

Rebekka’s style is abstract and figurative, with realistic elements. It is also realistic and attentive her understanding of contemporary society and its vices and virtues, of the social implications, of the impulses of modernity, and of her South Tyrolean tradition. She also gives special attention to the environment, biodiversity and to all the artificial and natural habitats in which humans live. Animals are also the protagonists of her “stories on canvas”, as well as of her illustrations.”Like clouds that seem unlimited, there is still more.” By using coloured pencils, charcoal, chalk, wax, painting oil and acrylic, the largeformat paintings take on a materiality and a vibrant colouring. The most energetic, vibrant drops of colour fall onto canvas and interact with the portraits. It is spray art. The painter perpetuates the story of her compositions, bringing together the past and the present, by using spray cans. It creates her new, unique concept of modernity.

“It’s a safe place that I discovered as a child.”

About three years ago Rebekka received a prophetic and inspiring gift from her maternal grandmother: Spritzmalerei. It is a small kit for spray-painting, to give life and colour to blank sheets of paper. To tell in a different way what is sometimes difficult to tell with words. Rebekka says “I vividly remember quiet afternoons at my grandmother’s house, surrounded by sheets and coloured pencils, and I used to reproduce my grandmother’s portraits and famous painters.
Painting had become a safe moment for me, a sort of haven of rest. It is still the case, but in a different, new and more stimulating way. Today I find nourishment and fulfilment in art. I’ don’t search for perfection, just want to express life’s journey and experiences of my life. The destination is not as important as the journey itself. I see my paintings as travel notes.”

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