Adam Frelin

Artist Statement


            Throughout my artmaking career, I have explored multiple strategies for how to insert emblematic additions into outdoor locations and public places. These additions take the form of sculptural, performative, and event-based projects. Landscapes and cityscapes are the stage where they are set, often taking place at points where our natural and constructed worlds intersect. While the sites I work in vary widely––cemeteries, quarries, and abandoned homes, just to name a few––my aim is to create artworks that complement a place, while also attempting to expand its meaning. Thinking of my additions as unexpected offerings, my choice to make artwork for outdoor locations and public places comes from a belief that art should be a part of our shared world.

            I think of my artwork as moments of fiction that are both a part of, and yet separate from this world. The sculptures that I make are not discrete objects, but catalytic props that are at the service of a place or story. The people in my videos are not professionals, but non-actors I want to connect with who are doing what they might normally do (based on their talent or vocation) repositioned into new situations. And though the performative activities that take place in my work are at times prosaic––walking, working, and carrying things––they are transformed into poignant rituals by the narrative or context that surrounds them. All of this has solidified a basic tenet into my art practice: make use of fantasy as a means toward connecting with reality.

            As part of my practice, I keep a growing collection of reference images that I draw upon when conceiving of a new project. While these references aid in the inception process, I attempt to simplify––or rather expand––their content into open-ended artworks. My aim is for an outcome that moves away from culturally or geographically specific connotations toward something more general. Whether naturally occurring or staged, real or imagined, my goal as an artist is to create images, objects and actions that tap into a shared visual vocabulary, functioning as icons of our contemporary world.