Drawing on her recent experience of becoming a mother, artist Zoe Friedman has created an immersive and layered universe of flora and fauna that explores the exuberant yet mysterious forces of life. Combining drawing, illustration, hand-cut paper, digital illustration and bespoke lighting elements, Friedman’s process mirrors the simultaneous joy and complexity of existence and invites the viewer to reflect on birth and growth.
In Friedman’s work, the playful, large-scale animal forms and the overlapping bold colors and patterns framing them beckon a heightened form of sentience. Illuminated by lighting elements of the artist’s own design, the installation is a portal into Friedman’s mythology of motherhood, in which she explores the instinct and power to care, nourish and grow. The large scale of each mural within the installation conveys the artist’s understanding of love as an expansive, forceful and overwhelming emotion. Much like a forest, the individual characters and forms in Friedman’s cast are connected and form a wondrous narrative.
Sentient Forest was on view from November 2021 to August 2022 at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD.