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Friday, February 28, 2014

Alter Space's Nova: A Living and Thriving Beast

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 12:00 PM

  • Disgregation

Bex Freund's creations aren't exactly coy. Her large-scale oil paintings depict human-like figures, limbless and dissected, falling toward an abyss, or gathered gloomily under apocalyptic skies.

"I was just becoming a teenager when 9/11 happened," Freund explains, "and I was entering my twenties during the 2008 economic collapse, so it's been a long, slow processing and coming to grips with new realities, adjusted expectations and a constantly brewing feeling of tension," Freund said.

Freund not only stomachs her surroundings, but puts them on display in her solo exhibition, "The Bottled Nova Must Still Feed," which will show this Saturday at the SOMA gallery, Alter Space.

"I wanted that [overpowering] feeling to come across in my paintings, which is why the majority of them are huge, almost overwhelming presences, on the verge of engulfing the viewer."

  • Autolysis

Dark urban backgrounds set the backdrop for many of her images, be it deserted cathedral-style architecture, or a sprawling metropolis.

"She's kind of getting into different emotional parts to the city as if it were a living and thriving beast," says Alter Space's co-owner and curator, Kevin Krueger.

Krueger, along with co-owner Koak, selected Freund as a participant in Alter Space's three-month artist residency program, Jail Cell. About half of the work to be presented in The Bottled Nova Must Still Feed were made during this time -- others took much longer.

"The show features a lot of work made in the past year, but it also has several really special pieces that took many months -- or years -- to make, starting in late 2010," says Freund. "From back then to now, I've gone through so much personal transformation and been shaped by so many experiences. Those paintings reflect that growth, sort of like a long exposure. And at the same time, our society, if not the world, has been going through a huge paradigm shift."

A Luta
  • A Luta

"The show isn't all about the macro, though--it's also looking at the micro, the individuals. Looking at the people in my life, particularly those of my generation, I'm seeing the weight of an uncertain future grinding down on us."

Alter Space (1158 Howard) presents "The Bottled Nova Must Still Feed" at 7 p.m. March 1, and continues through March 8. Visit

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF, Laura Jaye Cramer at @laurajayecramer, and like us on Facebook.

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Laura Jaye Cramer


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