Photo of “Mare Flores” and “Arura Glacialis” by Amber Cedroni
Freda’s dress sculptures are life-sized pieces of art, each expressing a different emotion, from moody and dark to light or romantic. Freda says of her dress sculptures, “They’re not dolls. They’re supposed to feel like a human presence in the room. It’s holding the space for somebody.”
Freda first worked with wire when she was in the jewelry program at her art school, and these small projects slowly evolved into sculpture. “I wanted to make clothing,” she said, “so I figured out a method of weaving that allowed me to make an intricate thing kind of quickly. Through that method, I discovered that I like to make delicate, intricate, lacy things.”
Her wire dresses are imbued with meaning. “They show the importance of women,” says Freda, who feels strongly that female sensibilities are underrepresented in the making of art. Her sculptures elevate women not only because they depict a garment traditionally worn by women, but because she uses a technique traditionally used by women. “Weaving and textile art is sort of women’s territory,” she said.
Incaendium is a particularly romantic piece, and Freda hopes it connects the people who view it to a moment of being happy and dancing. “I want the dresses to show that they’ve been alive or had a life, even if it’s just a spiritual one.”
Freda has an upcoming show, called Alchemical Reactions, at Chazan Gallery with Allison Paschke that runs from Feb 14 through Mar 7. You also can see her work in person at Gallery at Four in Tiverton. Freda does commissions and special projects, and you can follow her on Instagram @suefreda or visit her website at susanfredastudios.com -EO
Mare Flores (Sea Flowers)
Freda says of this porcelain sculpture set with gold leaf: “I think of them like hybrid shell forms – maybe a mushroom and a piece of coral. The plant world, human world and animal world can all converge and look like each other. They are each other. It’s all interrelated.” Porcelain is a new material for Freda, and she says she enjoys working with it because it has a natural feel. “It looks like bone or shell,” she said.
Arura Glacialis (Frozen Field)
This painting, with hand-formed porcelain shells, mica and glass pieces on a steel canvas, Freda describes as a garden. “This could be underwater plant forms or maybe it’s an icy field of flowers,” she said of her piece. “I’m trying to make nature abstract so it can cross some boundaries, but I also want it to look spiritual or special.”
Freda chooses to work with materials that reflect and collect light because light inspires her. “I want these things to look fragile and strong, delicate and fleeting,” she explained. It’s her attempt to capture the impermanence of nature. “Life is short and everything changes in it, but there are these beautiful moments when the light hits and makes things sparkle.”
In addition to light, Freda is inspired by what she calls “natural architecture” and the way things grow. “I get inspired by tendrils that have a lot of movement to them because it shows you how life is. It shows you the growth.”