Linden Frederick paints ultra-realistic everyday scenes during the nocturnal hush of the evening. In the real world many of these buildings would be unremarkable, but in the hands of Frederick these shabby homes and plain looking commercial buildings take on a different form at dusk and night, there is a mysterious imagining of the building’s inhabitants. The people are never overtly shown and only hinted at. It’s as though we are peering into a keyhole onto a private scene with an emotional narrative.
Why the evening? Frederick described the early evening as one of melancholy and filled with apprehension, it recalls music composed in a minor key that is elegiac and moody.
The people who tidy up their yards in their hardscrabble lives, who shop at liquor stores at night or live in basement rooms are an invisible presence to those speeding through. Frederick celebrates their anonymity.” – John O’Hern, American Art Collector, June 2017
These dusk paintings recall to mind a post I did ages ago about the loneliness of neon art. And also Drew Leshko’s ultra realistic models of milk bars and liquor stores. This art evokes a similar feeling in me. It’s the feeling of sublime loneliness and of stories that are brewing just underneath of the painting, photograph or model.
Frederick paints the kinds of paintings that writers conjure up as stories. His painting style is lyrical and evocative of the inner landscapes of America and they suggest a melancholic force that remains unseen and filled with mysterious apprehension.
Just like in the famous painting Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and in the book The Lonely City by Olivia Laing, there is a sense of loss and solitary contemplation here in among the engulfing darkness and reflected street lamps.
He is able to draw out the inner emotional landscape of the people who live in places, through the use of colour, composition, atmosphere and scale without even showing one person in these paintings, that’s quite a feat.
With his collections of motels, corner stores, highway rest stops, caravans and road side shops, Frederick creates a sense of fragile transience to the people and the places, of eerie and mysterious stories, about the dramas played out in these places, which are off the beaten track and aren’t considered remarkable in the real world.
The soundtrack to this kind of art would be Portishead and Massive Attack.