Helen Frederick’s Acts of Silence addresses the endangerment and degradation of the environment.
WASHINGTON—In spring 2016, The Phillips Collection will present the work of distinguished DC artist Helen Frederick. Addressing the endangerment and degradation of the environment, Frederick’s Acts of Silence aligns with the philosophical approach to nature found in the work of American artist Morris Graves (1910–2001), who developed a spiritual bond with the landscape and culture of the Pacific Northwest. Acts of Silence is part of the Phillips’s ongoing Intersections series that highlights contemporary art and artists in conversation with the museum’s permanent collection, history, and architecture.
Drawing equally from the phenomenal world and spaces of consciousness, the natural forms and social issues, Frederick’s work is at once poetic and poignantly reflective. In Acts of Silence, her pulp prints and paintings—created by delicate layering of colorful, handmade paper—are surrounded by projected images of the forest, light-based sculptures, and sound pieces creating an immersive, multisensory, and interactive space. Juxtaposed with some of the Phillips’s most celebrated Graves works, they reinforce an introspective experience of art while bringing awareness of human responsibility toward the natural environment. Frederick’s paintings give new meaning to Graves’s process of finding and creating images of creatures in the night, revealing the subconcious and serving as a means of psychological exploration.
A multilayered, multimedia installation, Acts of Silence reveals that there are ominous signs of death and destruction growing louder everywhere. Frederick’s artwork unearths various types of disappearances and deaths in nature by penetrating what is silently being lost.
Helen Frederick is Director of Printmaking at George Mason University and the founder of Pyramid Atlantic, a contemporary arts center in Silver Spring, Maryland, dedicated to the creation and appreciation of hand papermaking, printmaking, digital arts, and the art of the book. Her work has been exhibited at numerous institutions including the Kreeger Museum and Women’s War MemoralMuseum, Washington, DC, and Tokushima Museum of Modern Art, Japan, and is in more than 100 private collections.
Acts of Silence is on view February 4–May 1, 2016.