about me, some of my work and interests
I was born in Nashville, when my parents were studying at Vanderbilt, and I grew up in Bowling Green, Ky, where they taught at WKU. John Carpenter was occasionally my babysitter.
I went to a strangely futuristic elementary school connected to the university called the Jones-Jaggers Laboratory school. It was a circular building, with a round, carpeted, stepped auditorium called the “centertorium” * and all the classrooms had one-way mirrored observation booths, with microphones in the ceilings, for student teachers to come and observe our classes. The booths usually went unused, and it was fun to sneak into them, where panels of control buttons glowed faintly in the darkness. At WKU I took drawing classes, and was briefly a lute major, the only one in the music department.
I was in an experimental theatre company called The Primal Therapy Coloring Book, which performed and staged events at The Catacombs, a coffee house type stage in the Newman center. I played guitar and lute in an original rock opera, and met Lynne, who was a dancer in the group. We’ve been together since then.
Lynne and I went to the University of Kentucky, where I tried to find something else I could do, but I wound up transferring to Murray State University where the art department offered a major in drawing.
Majoring in drawing is a bit of an odd path. Drawings are often just preparations or planning for sculptures, paintings, or other works, and sometimes those kinds of drawings are appreciated for their unself-conscious directness, and spontaneity. But there’s also a different idea of drawing as a finished work that goes back to Mauricio Lazanski. His series The Nazi Drawings made an influential case for drawing as an independent medium. Lazanski established the first graduate school in art in the U.S., at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, in um, Iowa, and his students and his influence in drawing and printmaking spread from there to other universities. One of his students was Ivan Schieferdecker and although I never had classes with him at WKU, he was a family friend, I grew up looking at his prints and drawings.
Leonardo was the first artist I really responded to. As a kid I had strong feelings about weather, and I recognized the grey, evenly lit kinds of days he painted. That spoke to me, and it struck me that someone who lived a long time ago had felt something like that, and captured it. Leonardo’s drawings include expressive works, drawings as plans for artwork, but also plans for other things, some that never happen, ideas, drawings as a kind of fiction. It stayed with me that drawings can be evocative, ephemeral, as quiet and weirdly engaging as Robert Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning Drawing.
After college I started using my drawings, prints, and photo like “found objects”, putting them together in collages. this is a piece from that time called Horse Girls, that I showed at the Jeune Peinture exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris. I met the fabulous abstract painter Joe Downing there, and he said I had the best piece in the show, which was ridiculously nice of him. I later abandoned that vein of work, and destroyed some of the pieces.
I met the fabulous abstract painter Joe Downing there in Paris, and he said I had the best piece in the show, which was ridiculously kind of him. I later abandoned that vein of work, and destroyed some of the pieces.
A few pieces from a series about the visual experience of driving.
I’ve made some drawings with no deliberate intentions, drawing aimlessly, and often nothing comes of it, but others times it comes together. These are some of those improvised drawings.
This is a drawing of the trees outside my father’s study, where I grew up.
I pursued printmaking briefly in graduate school, and have made paintings and sculptures. Over the years I’ve worked in art galleries, art museum preparations, painted portraits, mostly of children.
I repaired antique handmade rugs in Louisville for about ten years.
I currently have a day job, and a few other projects going on. I like getting out with other artists to do life drawing, and I think it should probably be a mandatory subject in high schools. Thanks for your interest if you've made it this far!
all the best, Fred
*Just now, writing this, I discovered that a "centertorium", which was an everyday thing in my school when I was a kid, isn’t a real architectural term or even a word you can google.