Hello Uncertainty, Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco, California, March 30 - April 27, 2019.
Terri Friedman’s weavings document the national climate of anxiety and instability with fiber. The work responds to the uncertainty we are experiencing nationally and globally. How do we live with heartbreak and gratitude at the same time? We are collectively heart broken. We wake up daily to devastating news of climate change, bigotry, global wars, homelessness, to personal loss and challenge. Much like Sister Corita Kent who enlisted text to explore topical content and war, Friedman makes sense of world events through abstraction and text. Brain Science, Neuroplasticity, as well as Epigenetics (gene expression is affected by environment) are all growing fields that impact her work. Carefully crafted narratives, Friedman’s work explores the effects Brain Chemistry has on creating Elevated States: Serotonin, Endorphins, Dopamine, Oxytocin. Consciously cultivating these elevated states is a political weapon against indulging in the despair. Weaving as medicine.
Like a loom, Neurons that fire together, wire together. (Neuropsychologist Donald Hebb, 1949). Neuroplasticity. How does a Placebo work? The brain believes it will. It fires and wires together. And, likewise a Nocebo is quite the opposite. You believe it won’t so it doesn’t. Negative expectations. From centuries of fight or flight, our brains are wired for negativity. It takes effort on a grand scale to not fire and rewire the negativity into our neural pathways, thus reinforcing it. There is so much uncertainty in life. Neuroscience is now telling us that there is more that we have control over than ever before imagined. The brain, which we thought for Centuries was inflexible and unchanging, unable to create new neural pathways after childhood, is actually able to grow new pathways. Even gratitude can rewire the brain. This is evidenced based science.
For years Friedman has explored color and the brain body connection through a wide variety of media from poured acrylic paintings, kinetic sculpture to temporary installations. Interested in the sickly sweet, awkward, uncertain, chromatic, theatrical, and ornate because it mirrors the unhinged world we live in and the vulnerable human experience. Both confrontational and comforting, color mirrors the unraveling and the renewal. The act of weaving itself is an act of unification of warp and weft, of left and right brain. Friedman is weaving new neural pathways in her brain and on her loom. The stained glass embedded into the dense tapestries cast shadows and add transparency or light through the cracks. They are purposefully complex, explosive, chromatic, and oxygenated. What fires together, wires together. So, the more we experience the anxiety and fear, the more we enforce our country’s neural pathways of hopelessness. Friedman is suggesting that one pathway out of the swamp is to not immerse ourselves in the mire of anxiety and consciously choose to rewire new pathways. The 2018 election is an example of action and brain rewiring that brought about a sea of change. Part of rewiring is action. Friedman’s work explores those places where politics and emotions intersect. Choosing to cultivate Positive brain chemistry as a response to agitation instead of being paralyzed by the enormity of the national destabilization is a way to rewire neural pathways and open up avenues of positive change and action.