‘PORTRAITS’ opens at SHY RABBIT, featuring Mike Frick

SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts proudly opens “PORTRAITS” with an artists’ reception on Saturday, March 14, from 5-8 p.m. Several of the artists will be in attendance.

This highly-anticipated invitational exhibition continues through Saturday, April 18. SHY RABBIT gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment.

“PORTRAITS” features a wide range of unique portraiture works by: D. Michael Coffee, Colorado, prints; Sarah Comerford, Colorado, paintings; Mike Frick, Arizona, paintings; Shaun Martin, Colorado, paintings; and Maureen May, Colorado, mixed media.

This eclectic exhibition will also feature “From the Photo”, a special project comprised of photography, paintings and mixed media collage by Ivy King and Karl Isberg, of Colorado.

A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person.

A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer.

The works on display often blur the boundaries of conventionally accepted definitions of a portrait. Some are introspective, reflecting the maker’s image and characteristics as viewed and expressed through their own personal and private lens.

Other pieces might be perceived as more commentary in nature, portraying real or fictional personalities, filled with stories and life experiences that may or may not have been theirs to tell.

Whether real or imagined, these “portraits” will inspire wonder in the viewer. Some might even see a glimpse of themselves as though looking through a mirror, or the high level of creativity at hand might simply entertain them.

SHY RABBIT is pleased to introduce the work of by Arizona artist, Mike Frick, to a new audience through his inclusion in “PORTRAITS”. Frick is described as a brilliant and humorously haunting portrait painter, known for his distinctive style and innate ability to challenge the view.

“... It’s the impractical nature of Frick’s work — the garish colors, distorted perspectives, playful imagery — that make it so alluring. Many of Frick’s paintings are twisted portraits of people, including the ill-fated Grand Canyon boater Bessie Hyde, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Hunter Thompson.

“Then there are images that just make you do a double take: a man holding a dead fish at the edge of the South Rim; a man with a butterfly on his fork; a woman with a nose that looks like three links of sausage. All the images posses a sardonic humor that is central to Frick’s style and outlook on life.”

— Flagstaff Live! 2002.

Frick was born in Alexandria, Va., in 1959. He began painting full time in 2000, after a 15-year career as an award-winning editorial art director and graphic designer for a number of publications.

He studied fine art at The Torpedo Factory, Alexandria, Va.; Northern Virginia Community College; and editorial design at Texas State Technical College, Waco, Texas. His figurative oil paintings are included in private collections throughout the United States and Europe, and have been featured in several prestigious gallery exhibitions.

“Flag artist Mike Frick is many things: a father, a writer, a general outdoorsy Flagstaff kind of guy, and a musician (his song “You Smell Like a Frat Boy” remains one of the all-time local classics).

“One of the most visible painters in town, Frick’s style has permeated the many layers of the Flagstaff art scene and these days he’s busier than ever injecting his distinctive portraits of characters who share a detached, despondent contemplation, into colorfully vibrant and otherworldly imagery.”

“In conversation, everything the 47-year-old Frick says is done with a mischievous smirk and his unmistakable dark humor, which applies directly to the interpretation of his art.”

— Flagstaff Live! 2007.

Frick paints people from memory alone and without the use of reference material, “with varying degrees of success,” he states. He paints to recreate a gesture, or lack of gesture, in an attempt to capture his subject’s essence. Old girlfriends are one of his favorite subjects.

Some of Frick’s oil paintings have taken a day to paint, while others might have taken years to complete. Unsold works returning from shows are often reworked, not in an attempt to make them more saleable, but to make them better paintings.

Frick believes the continuing appeal of art is due to the fact that it affects people. “People get close to it. In music and in art, there’s music or art that will disturb you, that will challenge you, that will make you think. And then there’s music or art that looks pretty and is inoffensive and just sits there,” Frick comments.

He conceptualizes his art by imagining a TV set, and then the TV set looking out at the people sitting in front of it.

“A lot of my paintings are that,”, Frick says, “because that’s when you’re doing your absolute least — you sit there and you’re passive — you do nothing. I try to make people do as little as possible in my paintings. I like to get down to a basic function.”

“PORTRAITS” features a number of seductive, contemplative, and sometimes humorous paintings by Frick, including “Embracing Oblivion,” completed in 2008. Interestingly enough, Frick’s serious art blog is subtitled, “embracing oblivion since 1959,” providing the viewer with a possible clue as to the subject of this captivatingly mysterious painting.

Frick’s contemplative portraits are truly brilliant and humorously haunting.

SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts is located at 333 Bastille Drive, two blocks north of U.S. 160, off of North Pagosa Boulevard.  The 4,000 square-foot arts facility houses a ceramic studio and fine art gallery, two mixed-media workshops, and two large exhibition spaces.

For more information on SHY RABBIT, visit www.shyrabbit.com or call 731-2766.

For more information on exhibitions, visit www.shyrabbit.com/Exhibits.html.

Photo courtesy SHY RABBIT
SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts opens “PORTRAITS” with an artists’ reception on Saturday, March 14, from 5-8 p.m., introducing the work of Arizona artist, Mike Frick. This piece, to be seen in the show, is “Embracing Oblivion”, oil on canvas, 36x24.