A survey of Lindsay Frei’s studio reveals an intriguing array of objects, including typewriters, toasters, scales, Christmas lights, model cars, and rubber ducks. What someone else views as discards, Frei sees as potential stars in her still-life dramas. In fact, at only 25, the Utah painter has developed a penchant for bringing disparate objects together to realize her uniquely personal vision. “I simply collect things that catch my eye,” she explains. Frei confesses that she even did a dumpster dive recently to retrieve two tantalizing old suitcases, which were stuffed with funky clothes from the ’50s and ’60s—all of which have found a home in her studio and now wait in the wings for a role in one of her productions. “I arrange things in a painting until they are interesting to me,” Frei says. “But the scene has to be beautiful with nice light and lots of contrast.” Narratives aren’t intentional, although some tableaus evoke moods ranging from playful to haunting.
Frei grew up in Sandy, UT, and graduated from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where she studied art with David Dornan, Paul Davis, and Tony Smith. She is represented by Coda Gallery, Palm Desert, CA, Park City, UT, and New York, NY; Park Gallery, Carmel, CA; and Phillips Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT.
"When I started still life painting I thought of the paintings as studies and approached them as a way of satisfying my curiosity surrounding technique.
"My excitement for the work grew when I discovered that a realistic description could be a vehicle for emotional content. I choose neutral subjects because they are often free of expectations.
"My hope is that these objects will take on anthropomorphic qualities. The beauty in painting this way lies in the transformation of an ordinary thing into a specific statement with human attachments."