Sep 12 – Nov 2, 2013
Internationally recognized in video and photography, Maria Friberg’s approach consistently holds within it a universal stance. Often isolating figures in intense juxtaposition to one another or against elemental forces such as water or gravity, the artist is concerned with how humankind maintains physical and spiritual equilibrium within the context of a complex world. Frequently featuring males as the subjects of her characteristic visual vocabulary, the artist offers a poignant take on the notion of “the everyman” as how humankind fundamentally views itself. Bringing forth this idea heightens the artist’s more primary theme of what unites us as human beings also connects us to the larger plane of existence. Her images often suggest that a kind of composure coupled with a measure of surrender help keep balance in life no matter the situation.
Enveloped by violent frothing waves, the figure in Friberg’s Blown Out video appears to keep his head within the dramatic surroundings – even as he is tossed and submerged repeatedly. The figure is miniscule against the vastness of the churning sea, vulnerable and alone. Yet within his relentless predicament, there is constant resurfacing; a visual weightlessness that serves, for the artist, as a metaphor for maintaining balance under even the most unpredictable vicissitudes that inevitably lash at us all. Similarly, the focused figure in the large video entitled Calmation, blinkingly concentrates on maintaining his equilibrium in an endless rush of frigid water, adapting to a kind of calm in spite of the unusual circumstances. The unmoving figure marooned amidst the rushing water and its loud sounds invokes within the viewer the knowledge that cultivating a calm state courage through anxiety and fear is required to see who we really are while in the unknown. In accepting surrendering to the turbulence even while an environment in flux brings swift movement and change, the anchored figure reflects a point of stillness within; a quest for tranquility over tumult. Intensely immersive and alluding to an ever-engulfing world within nature and beyond, Friberg’s visceral visual realm illuminates a universal path – the quest for stillness itself.
Friberg's engaging ceiling-projected video entitled Endless Limit, originally shown at Robischon Gallery in 2006, features sliding, non-stop tap- dancing feet was a highlight of the Denver Art Museum's "Blink! Light, Sound and Moving Image” exhibition where the video remains in the museum's permanent collection.