Daily Special

First Dark
Freida Hamm
First Dark
1991 | oil on paper | 40x50 | $24000

Lions, tigers, and bears– what could be lurking in this active landscape by Memphis artist Freida Hamm?

A true master of imagination, Freida Hamm seeks to conjure the history and memories of a place before she sets to work. Hamm loves a juicy story and translating its imagery onto paper, its what she does best. Hamm is known for her expressive Tennessee landscapes, large in scale and wild color pallet to achieve the strong emotional presence of her work. Her compositions set the scene for a cautionary tale or fantastical story– one with conflict and chaos only to be tamed by the artist's hand. The thickness of oil paint adds the weight of pending destiny or a hopeful resolution.

Despite the title of the work, the use of oil on paper allows for a bright, electric sense of energy throughout the composition of wobbly trees and trembling earth. The setting sun (or is it the rising moon?), swallowed by a red sky anchors the setting and offsets the inconsistency of line and color of the rest of the work; a ball of hopeful and eager light amongst uncertainty below. No signs of any four-legged threat…yet. Despite the scary and perhaps even dangerous unknowns hidden within the bounds of the painting, we are lured in and captured by a magnificent story-teller.

Born in Selmer in 1935, Freida Hamm was mesmerized by the lonely landscape of rural Western Tennessee from a young age. She enrolled as an adult student at the Memphis College Art and earned her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Memphis. She's a long time friend of the Gallery and forever treasured as raconteuse of the magic of Tennessee's untold histories.

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