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An Unreliable Narrator: Paintings by Barbara Friedman

(image: Barbara Friedman, Gumby in Town Square, 2016, oil on linen, 44" x 42")

(image: Barbara Friedman, Gumby in Town Square, 2016, oil on linen, 44" x 42")



Hamilton Square Condominium Association



An Unreliable Narrator: Paintings by Barbara Friedman

May 10th 2017 – August 27th 2017


Closing Brunch Reception: Sunday Aug 27th 1-5pm


Hamilton Square

232 Pavonia Avenue

Jersey City, NJ 07302



Please join us THIS SUNDAY for the Closing Brunch celebration for An Unreliable Narrator: Paintings by Barabara Friedman at Hamilton Square in beautiful Downtown Jersey City. The artist and curator will be present for questions, dialogue, and discussion of this collection of exceptional new works. We will also take a peek at the gorgeous An Unreliable Narrator catalogue recently printed on the occasion of this engaging show. We hope to see you there! Brunch refreshments will be served.


SILVERMAN and Hamilton Square Condominium Association present: An Unreliable Narrator: Paintings by Barbara Friedman, curated by Enrico Gomez. 

For her solo exhibition, "An Unreliable Narrator", contemporary artist Barbara Friedman offers new works from her "Strange Bedfellows" series of paintings, a series that engages familiar protagonists from children's literature and popular culture. The narrative framework employed by Friedman serves as one among many entry points through which to delve deeper into these multi-layered works. Traversing the demarcations between representation and abstraction, story and sensorial aesthetics, the artist utilizes the associations of her chosen forms as readily as yet another color on the palette, eschewing simple categorization of these rich and chromatic works. Though relatively new, the paintings on view within "An Unreliable Narrator" contain a wide array of subject matter and tone, and include qualities that are in keeping with earlier series from this prolific painter. Vibrant glowing undertones, keen color relationships, and deft combinations of paint application (blurring, scumbling, scraping, blending) form a sort of signature, a few of the identifiable markers of this artist's varied and masterful lexicon. 

The artist progresses through her constructions, building and changing her motifs intuitively, each series of works developing as a sort of dialogue between Friedman, the works themselves, art historical references, & inspiration. Shares the artist, "most of the moves I make in my paintings ... happen organically, through the process." It is this organic process of altering, enhancing, and painting over older works that gave rise to the Gulliver and Gumby forms at their outset. Taken together with a third protagonist, classic fictional marionette Pinocchio, the characters on view in this series foreground a few of the artist's current conceptual and worldly concerns.

The title "An Unreliable Narrator" refers, of course, to literature and those moderately reliable characters fitting this description throughout history including, Twain's Huckleberry Finn, Nabokov's Humbert Humbert, Ellis' Patrick Bateman, and Swift's satirical classic Lemuel Gulliver. A work that has an “unreliable narrator” compels the reader to second-guess the information they are given, to view as suspect any “truth” or claim of veracity on the part of the main storyteller, a work of fiction becoming doubly so. 

The presence of the hyperbolic Gulliver, the physically malleable Gumby, and the occasionally mendacious Pinocchio in these artworks implies a sort of lingering remembrance of the early lessons of these childhood antiheroes. With a painterly bravura and in bright colors, these figures once again point to a sort of fantastical limbo, somewhere between fantasy and reality, fact and fiction, a timely underscoring of the verisimilitude and all too relevant biases inherent in any dissemination of experiential "reality", anecdotal or otherwise.

Like any great work of art, these paintings exist on multiple levels, the formal, the conceptual, and of course individually as unique vehicles of storytelling. As with any great tale, well executed in vivid strokes and in bold particulars, there is still plenty of space for the viewer to investigate, to second-guess, to color in & flesh out the shapes & lines within, & like the artist before them, make these stories indelibly their own.


Barbara Friedman is an artist based in New York City and professor of art at Pace University. She has exhibited widely, with thirty-five solo shows, most recently at Buddy Warren Gallery in New York, NY (2016); BCB Art in Hudson, NY (2015); Ober Gallery in Kent, CT (2014); Ethan Petitt Gallery in Brooklyn, NY (2014); the Painting Center (2012); and twice at Michael Steinberg Fine Art in New York, NY (2007, 2009).  Earlier solo exhibitions were at Art Resources Transfer, The Queens Museum, and White Columns (all NYC); Carnegie-Mellon University, Cleveland State University, the Roanoke Museum of Fine Arts, and the Dana Wright Gallery in San Francisco among others.

Reviews of Friedman’s work have appeared in the New York Times, the New York Sun, The Irish Times, Newsday, Art in America, ARTS Magazine, and Artweek. A group of her paintings were selected for the 2007 issue of New American Paintings, and another group for the 2010 issue.


The exhibition is open to the public during normal business hours and by appointment and will be on view at Hamilton Square through August 27th, 2017. For further information, please visit us at SILVERMAN or call number (201) 435-8000. Hamilton Square is located at 232 Pavonia Avenue in Jersey City, NJ.


An Unreliable Narrator: Paintings by Barbara Friedman is the sixth exhibition that artist/curator Enrico Gomez will organize for SILVERMAN. For additional information on the exhibiting artist Barbara Friedman, please visit: For additional information on the curator, please visit: and


SILVERMAN has presented the works of Michael Steinbrick, Jeanne Tremel, Eliot Markel, Debra Drexler, Mark Van Wagner, Rob Ventura, Robert Hendrickson, Sarah Becktle, Kati Vilim, Mark Dagley, Candy Le Sueur, Ed Fausty, Anna Mogilevsky, Ali Harrington, Sara Wolfe, Anne Percoco, Shauna Finn, Melanie Vote, Paul Lempa, Fanny Allié, Michael Meadors, John A. Patterson, Charlotte Becket, Roger Sayre, Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, Tom McGlynn, Margaret Murphy, Valeri Larko, Tenesh Webber, Glenn Garver, Jennifer Krause Chapeau, Michelle Doll, Tim Heins, Megan Maloy, Laurie Riccadonna, Thomas John Carlson, Tim Daly, Ann Flaherty, Scott Taylor, Jason Seder, Sara Wolfe, Beth Gilfilen, Andrzej Lech, Hiroshi Kumagai, Victoria Calabro, Asha Ganpat, Darren Jones, Ryan Roa, Laura Napier, Risa Puno, Nyugen E. Smith, Amanda Thackray, and Kai Vierstra, among others.



Hamilton Square is located at 232 Pavonia Avenue, in the scenic Hamilton Park neighborhood of Jersey City. Surrounded by tree-lined streets and attractive brownstones, Hamilton Square is located just blocks from the Holland Tunnel, the Light Rail, the Pavonia-Newport PATH Station, and the Grove Street PATH Station — making it an easy destination from anywhere in the greater Manhattan and North Jersey areas, with just a swipe of your MTA card!


To reach us from Newport PATH Train Station:

Access Journal Square-bound PATH Train at 6th Ave & 32nd, 23rd, 14th, 9th, and/or Christopher Streets in Manhattan, disembark at Newport Stop (1st stop in NJ). Walk through Newport Mall and exit through doors (by McDonald’s) on first floor, cross through parking garage to Marin Boulevard. Cross Marin (at firehouse) and walk west on 8th street. At Erie Street turn Right and we are a few steps on the left (west) side of street at Pavonia. We are on Pavonia Ave, north of a construction site and flanked by Smith & Chang Coffee Shop and Hamilton Park.

To reach us from Grove Street PATH Train Station:

Access Newark-bound PATH Train at WTC Oculus Hub in Manhattan, disembark at Grove Stop (2 stops). Walk up Newark Ave, turn Right on Erie Street, and walk north a few minutes until Pavonia Ave. We are on Pavonia Ave, north of a construction site and flanked by Smith & Chang Coffee Shop and Hamilton Park.

On-street and metered parking is available. 

(PATH Train to Grove Stop: PATH Trains from WTC, 33rd, 23rd, 14th, 9th, and Christopher St)

(PATH Train to Grove Stop: PATH Trains from WTC, 33rd, 23rd, 14th, 9th, and Christopher St)