There is something quite remarkable about brightly coloured abstract shapes against stark white backgrounds. This is the main characteristic of Joanne Freeman’s work and how her paintings come to life. Freeman, who obtained her Master’s degree in Fine arts from the New York University, first worked as an artist at the New York Studio School and the Massachusetts College of Art before she began to exhibit her work throughout the United States and internationally. Strongly influenced by the ideas of the Bauhaus School and the graphics of the last century, Freeman has found her style in presenting new, abstract shapes in simple ways. Today, her works are identified by interesting shapes, clean contours and striking colours created with gouache on Khadi, a type of cotton cloth made in India.
I believe you cannot simply walk past Freeman’s work; it demands to be looked at longer to find what it wants to express. Its significance is perhaps not immediately clear and even open to interpretation, but browsing Freeman’s paintings and prints on her website, the Bauhaus movement’s influence is immediately evident not only in the shapes but also in the colours she uses. The use of only one colour – blue, yellow or red – in one piece are quite prominent and reminds strongly of Bauhaus’ minimalism. The bright abstract shapes against a clean white background are quite extraordinary and express a feeling of limitation and control, but also physical reality, while the sharp edges and neat contours bring about a clear-cut and minimalist aesthetic. While her work’s message can be open to different interpretations, the symbols of control, precision and minimalism are prominent.
In my opinion, Freeman’s work will easily fit any modern space with neutral furniture and clean finishes. The precision of Freeman’s work results in simplistic pieces without it being monotonous. It is also not too bold or prominent, but it does immediately make an impact. I believe her paintings can form the centrepiece in any room with its striking colour and intriguing shapes. Her prints can also be framed in clean, neat frames to create a strong, modern feel in a space.
Freeman’s work can be found throughout the world in studios, in museums and as part of collections. Her work certainly reminds of other iconic artists, including American painter Ellworth Kelly and Hungarian painter, László Moholy-Nagy work, but she has unquestionably found her style and has made her mark as a minimalist, abstract artist.