CAROLE FREEMAN, painter of people and narrative pictures, considers these motifs as vehicles to her principal subject, the materiality of paint. Stylistically lying between classical representation and contemporary figuration, Freeman’s paintings manipulate time and space through fine detail and gestural brushwork, monochromatic and luminous color, lightness of spirit and soulful depth. Her imagery blends clinical study, empathy, humor, ironic juxtaposition, the poignancy and piquancies of memory, with playful and evocative titles. Occasionally referencing Old and Modern Masters, she whimsically subverts history – art, cultural, personal - with the “zeal of a transgressive visual polyglot”(1). 


Born on the Canadian prairies in St. Boniface (now Winnipeg), Canada,  the teenage Freeman’s wanderlust led her to adventure and knowledge across the ocean. Her credentials include an M.A. from the School of Painting, Royal College of Art, London, with a residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris.  Her RCA teachers and tutors were some of the finest: E.H. Gombrich, Norbert Lytton, Phillip Rawson, with critic and art historian John Golding supervising her thesis.  The mercurial surrealist painter Matta was artist-in residence, with a studio down the hall.  Francis Bacon sometimes weaved through the neighbourhood.  American Pop artist James Rosenquist took her to dinner.  Travels in Europe were infused with art – the Classical on the Greek mainland and islands, the Byzantine in Turkey,  the Renaissance in Italy, Breughel and Bosch in Brussels, Rembrandt and Van Gogh in Amsterdam, the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries in London and Paris.


Since 2010, Freeman’s work has gained prominence through group exhibitions in Los Angeles with artists Helen Frankenthaler, Elizabeth Peyton, Picasso, Matisse, Klimt, Lautrec, and David Hockney, and  keynote speakers such as Judy Larson, former director of The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC. Solo exhibitions in Toronto and Winnipeg include: Something About Winnipeg, described by Gary Michael Dault (former art critic for The Globe and Mail)  as “an epic undertaking… the Summa of a city… the jewel in the crown”(2); Selections 2012 – 2016, an excursion through Freeman’s oeuvre at Walnut Contemporary; Portraits of Facebook, 196 portraits of art and cultural figures culled from social media profile photos, opened by the director of Facebook Canada; and three exhibitions of celebrity portraits featured during the Toronto International Film Festival.  Freeman has exhibited at ArtToronto, Canada’s largest international fair, with paintings featured in art historian lead talks and tours.

Commission portraits include a ‘bootleg’ Alice Neel for New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz,  Jeremy Chilnick, commissioned by film director Morgan Spurlock, Leslie Sacks, for the publication “African Art from the Leslie Sacks Collection”, Skira Editore, Italy, and Nine Drawings of Man Friday, Collection Lord and Lady Glentoran, Dublin, Ireland.


In a recent sold-out interview in Winnipeg with art historian and journalist, Alison Gilmore, Freeman spoke of her career and portraiture. At The Canadian Arts Summit held at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Freeman presented her art practice to the chief executives, artistic directors, and board chairs of Canada’s 50 largest not-for-profit cultural institutions on the panel Making Art in the Age of New Media, moderated by Janet Carding, former Director CEO, Royal Ontario Museum.

Freeman’s work has been featured in The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Arabella, and Now Magazine as well as blogs and art news sites such as ArtDaily Newsletter, ArtSlant, Akimbo Art and Tech Blog, ArtStars, Berkshire News, Los Angeles Magazine, and Visual Art Source.


Freeman is the recipient of grants and awards from the Canada Council, University of Toronto, and Royal College of Art. Her work is represented in private, corporate, and public collections in Canada, the U.S.A., England, Ireland, Italy, and Australia.


A citizen of both Canada and the U.S., Freeman presently works and lives in Toronto, Canada.


1. “Carole Freeman’s Selections 2012 -2016”, David Saric, Artoronto.ca, August, 2016.

2. “Surprise Appearances”, Gary Michael Dault, Arabella, Summer, 2016.

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EDUCATION

Bachelor of Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.               

Master of Arts, Royal College of Art, School of Painting, London, England.

Bachelor of Fine Arts Honors (Dean’s Honors List), University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2016        Something About Winnipeg, Gurevich Fine Art, Winnipeg, Canada.

                 Selections 2012-2016, Walnut Contemporary, Toronto, Canada.

2011-12    Portraits of Facebook, Edward Day Gallery, Toronto, Canada.

                 Doing the Docs, Hyatt Regency Hotel (Toronto International Film Festival Headquarters), Toronto, Canada.

2010         If the Paparazzi Could Paint (Part II), Hyatt Regency Hotel (Toronto International Film Festival Official Headquarters), Toronto, Canada.

                 If the Paparazzi Could Paint (Part I), Rebecca Gallery, Toronto, Canada.


RECENT GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2017           Van Der Plas Gallery, New York, NY.

2015          ArtToronto, Gurevich Fine Art, Booth No. C69, Toronto, Canada.

2014          ArtToronto, Gurevich Fine Art, Booth No. 1114, Toronto, Canada.

                  Classical Values: Modern and Contemporary Drawing, Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles, California.

                  A Celebration of Women’s Art, Gurevich Fine Art, Winnipeg, Canada.

2013         Women’s Art Now, Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles, California.

2012         Art Takes Times Square, New York, New York.

 

CORPORATE AND PRIVATE COMMISSIONS 

2012           Leslie Sacks, Portrait of Leslie Sacks, published in “African Art from the Leslie Sack Collection”, Skira Editore, Italy.

2010-11      Blue Leaf Gallery, Nine Watercolour Drawings of Man Friday, Collection: Lord and Lady Glentoran, Dublin, Ireland.

               Harold Green Theatre Company, Portraits of Norman Jewison, David Mirvish, and Ucal Powell, Toronto, Canada.

        Private Commission, Four Paintings of Bert, Toronto, Canada.

                   Morgan Spurlock, Portrait of Jeremy Chilnick, New York, USA.

2009-10      The Globe and Mail, Facts and Arguments, Editorial Illustrations, Toronto, Canada.

  Private Commission, Portrait of John, Tuscany, Italy.

1980-86      Editorial Illustrations: Montreal Magazine, Feminin Pluriel, Saturday Night Magazine, Quill and Quire.


INTERVIEWS   CONFERENCES   WORKSHOPS

2016          Portrait of the Artist, interviewed by Alison Gilmore, Free Press News Cafe, Winnipeg, Canada.

2011          Portrait Painting Workshop, Central Commerce Collegiate, Toronto, Canada.

2012          Canadian Arts Summit, Panelist, Making Art in the Age of New Media, moderated by Janet Carding, Director/CEO, Royal Ontario Museum, The Banff Centre, Canada.

                  Portrait Painting Party, Edward Day Gallery, Toronto, Canada.


GRANTS   AWARDS   RESIDENCIES

1990          University of Toronto, Visual Art Award, Faculty of Education, Toronto, Canada.

1982          Canada Council, Project Cost Grant, Montreal, Canada.  

1980          La Cite Internationale des Arts, Four Month Residency, Paris, France.

1979          Royal College of Art, Travel Award, Italy.

1978          Canada Council, Project Cost Grant, London, England.


COLLECTIONS

Art Bank, Ottawa, Canada.

Continental Oil Company, London, England.

Royal College of Art, London, England.

University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.

York University, Toronto, Canada.

Private Collections: England, Canada, USA, Italy, Ireland, Australia.


TEACHING

2013-15      Visual Art, Toronto District School Board, Toronto, Canada.

1990-2005  Visual Art, Toronto District School Board, Toronto, Canada.

1984-86      Painting and Drawing, Faculty of Visual Art, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec.

1978-91      Painting and Drawing, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Artists in the Schools: Manitoba Arts Council, Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, Protestant School Board of Greater    

                   Montreal, Art Gallery of Ontario: Toronto, Havergal College: Toronto, North York Board of Education: Toronto, York Montessori School: Toronto, Sunnybrook Medical

                   Centre: Toronto, Upper Canada College: Toronto.


DONATIONS

2010-11     Canadian Film Centre, Toronto International Film Festival Silent Auction, Toronto, Canada.

                  Rally for Kids with Cancer, Event and Auction, Faces of Hope, oil, acrylic and graphite on panel, 8 x 8 ft, (concept and creation of mural with celebrities, sponsors, patients,

                  and families participation raising $18,000), Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto, Canada.

  

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Winnipeg Free Press

Painting the Faces of Winnipeg. Alison Gilmore, October 31, 2016.

Canadian Art

Must-Sees This Week: November 3 to 9, 2016. November 3, 2016.

ARTORONTO.CA

Carole Freeman’s Selections 2012-2016 at Walnut Contemporary. David Saric, August, 2016.

Arabella

Surprise Appearances , Gary Michael Dault. Summer Issue, 2016.

Smart Career

Facebook Artist, Dorothy Dobbie. April, 2013.

ARTDAILY.ORG

Exhibition at Leslie Sacks Fine Art in Los Angeles focuses on women's art now. January, 2013.

Globe and Mail

Carole Freeman Finds Her Muse on Facebook. James Adams, December 2, 2011.

Carole Freeman's Facebook Friends. December 2, 2011.

The National Post

Portraits from Pokes. Danielle Perry, 1 December 2011.

Celebrity Apprentice. Katherine Laidlaw, September 2010.

Berkshire Fine Arts

Friend Me: Portraits and Projects, Astrid Heimer, Carole Freeman. 22 January 2012.

Canadian Jewish News

Getting Friended with a Paintbrush. Laura Fixman, December 15, 2011.

Blogs

Carole Freeman Unplugged. Akimbo Art and Tech Blog, James Fowler, April 10, 2012.

Global Paint Party. Otino Corsano Blogspot. 5 January 2012.

Carole Freeman. ArtStars, Nadja Sayej










Canadian Arts Summit 2012

Arts Leadership in the Age of Social Media

The Banff Centre, Canada


Session: Making Art in the Age of New Media

Moderated by Janet Carding (former Director, Royal Ontario Museum) with Amy Shackelton, Carole Freeman

Carole Freeman: Remarks, March 31, 2012



I am not a video, iphone, or ipad artist, animator or gamer. I don’t make cultural visualizations, or c prints of computer generated images.  I like paint. To me paint is a vital, sensual medium, something you can touch, feel, and smell. I do, though, use new technologies for many aspects of my professional life during and apart from painting.


Since I don’t consciously keep up with new media jargon or technological innovations, I went to a lecture last week at OCADU given by digital culture theorist, Lev Manovich hoping he might enlighten me as to what I ought to be doing. According to Manovich, at today’s pace, New Media, is no longer new, and will soon just be “More Media.” As he sites, in the cyber world, it’s already too late for anyone who has yet to embrace New Media and latecomers may as well just go home.  But, the way I’ve come to see it, you don’t need to be born into that world to visit, and like a good traveler, take something worthwhile back home with you.


The process of making art and gaining exposure has certainly changed since I graduated from the School of Painting at the Royal College of Art in 1980. Who could have imagined digital manipulation to establish compositional and colour changes while a work is in progress, rather than physically removing paint, or simply starting again. Who could have imagined jpegs instead of slides, circling the globe in seconds, when you know how hard it can be for a young person to find an envelope, let alone a stamp! 


Who could have imagined such astonishing access to the art world  - at the click of a mouse, to the chagrin of magazines, libraries and art book stores. Or the possibility of a global audience rather than a local one at the gallery down the street, and the prospect of making useful connections without leaving the studio. When I had a choice between hiring a website designer or purchasing a new computer with the capabilities and software needed for the job, I put myself on a learning curve and chose the computer. My website is now in its 4th generation with Under Construction a seemingly permanent tagline on the homepage.


In the world of new media, I regard myself as a tourist,  (rather than a resident), who has found use for its technology - photoshop, website construction, social media, creating videos for youtube, formatting, jpegs, pdfs, attachments, download, upload, burn, post, tag, message, like, comment, email, text, chat, tweet, logging, blogging, and vlogging -  all mostly to the benefit of my art practice. 


In the last two years, my work has gained exposure via international film festivals, social media, and portraiture of celebrity, culture, and art world figures in 4 solo exhibitions, 3 of which coincided with the Toronto International Film Festival with work installed beside Bell Lightbox.  

And where did “New Media” come in?  New media enabled me to research the film festivals, source photos, promote and gain a presence - and more – New Media did its thing, and my exposure got bumped up and grew through the public uploading and tweeting photos of my paintings. This exposure led to commissions, the most fun being a commission from Morgan Spurlock, of the documentary, Supersize Me fame.


I first came to social media many years ago with great skepticism, but typically enough, via the decree of my teenage daughter who informed me I had to have a Facebook profile. Shortly after I created one, I deleted it, not wanting the world to know much about me and not wanting to waste my time with such nonsense. My present engagement with social media really started several years later after caring for my dying mother in Winnipeg.  While she could, we would have Scrabble games every evening. After her death and upon my return to Toronto, my family continued playing Scrabble through Facebook and in the process I discovered a new world. Upon meeting a well-known artist, my Facebook exposure took me to wondering if he had a profile. There he was. Aha!  (pause) This just got interesting, sending me on a voyage of curiosity and voyeurism friending artists and cultural figures. Before I knew it, I had nearly 2,000 friends in the international art world.


I was drawn to friends’ choices of profile photos, began to analyze the variety of faces, types, ages, the devil-may-care philosophy of loading digital photos, the differences between a digital and hand-made image such as a painting - realizing in the process, I had an almost infinite source of subjects as well as a very current, media-grabbing topic. This led to the body of work that became Friend Me Portraits of Facebook, one hundred and ninety-six portraits sourced from profile photos, at the Edward Day Gallery in Toronto last December to January.


We have David Hockney to thank for his brilliant - and direct – use of new media in his Ipad exhibition, Fresh Flowers, at the Rom. Conversely, Friend Me Portraits of Facebook, simply by virtue of taking high tech, digital photos, back to tradition or low tech – that is, my hand, paint, and a brush, subverted and commented on social and new media with painted portraits in direct confrontation with the digital age.


At the same time, the exhibition utilized Facebook as a frame of reference and access as subject and source, as well as a marketing and delivery tool through the uploading of all the portraits onto my profile, and tagging and messaging all the friends I had painted. The response I got was immediate, global, and resounded with the appearance of blogs, posts, newsletter articles, friend requests from international galleries, an invitation to a residency in Romania, and Likes, comments, and messages about my work that continue on a daily basis. Translation to cash happened through sales and commission requests. The most fun in the process of posting and messaging was a chat at 4 in the morning with Dido Fontana, a photographer in Italy, son of famed artist Lucio Fontana, who wrote superlatives and bella bellas about his portrait. The most profound communication was with David McAdam Freud, who was having his first exhibition titled, Losing Lucian, after the death of his father, Lucian Freud. Here were two artists with solo exhibitions in direct relation to the death of a parent.


I have also produced videos for Youtube. So I guess I’m no latecomer having embraced many tools of new media.


New media levels the playing field with equal access to international galleries, museums, curators, and competitions. Caveat – this can either inspire, or, inspire defeat. Just as I must be careful in using digital manipulations in the work process for fear of losing the magic of mistake and accident, and careful lest I make new media my master, maker of more work, time-waster rather than saver, I must also be conscious of being too influenced by mediums and styles that have current cache to remain true to my passion for paint and true to my self, though my next body of work may involve paint – and video!


To sum up, as a working artist where I’ve netted out on new media is that it’s a great power tool, but like all power tools you have to know how to use them carefully and to your advantage, and they don’t preclude the option of working by hand.  New media speeds up the process of painting, gives me previously unattainable global exposure, an international market place, and incredible access and connection to the contemporary art world, though for me, the beginning is always paint and a brush. 


That being said, being invited to speak and project my work before this awesome audience is certainly real world proof of the power of new, or rather, more media.

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