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Galleri Urbane is pleased to present I Tried to Warn You, Chicago artist Peter Frederiksen’s third solo exhibition with the gallery.
Frederiksen’s works, executed in freemotion machine embroidery, which is akin to drawing with thread, contain a sense of foreboding, of the mishap not averted, of the impending catastrophe, of the danger foretold. The banana peel at the ladder’s base or the umbrella stand full of weaponry—all are there to remind us of what we cannot ignore: the violence in the everyday.
The soft materials and simplified color schemas in these small, wall-based oeuvres harken to classic cartoons from America’s animation golden age, softening the impact with nostalgia. Frederiksen admits, “I do want to make sure that these feel familiar. I want viewers to see these pieces and be like, ‘I feel like I’ve seen this before’ or ‘I feel like I’ve been seeing this my whole life.’”
Each scene embroiders on a facet of menace. Even the daggers thrown into a wall take on the shape of a human form, hinting at possible intent—a before and an after. The eerie absence of characters mirrors the full knowledge of consequence, which, in a tour de force of dramatic irony, is ever out of the frame, on the brink of being revealed. Meanwhile, close cropping conjures a brilliant claustrophobia. Threat lurks everywhere.
As the title suggests, in this new series, Frederiksen plays with the idea of the “benevolent” or “well-intentioned” threat (a warning), a comical twisting of his recurrent themes of panic and peril. “You can do everything in your power to make people—or somebody or yourself—aware of something, but it is up to others, somebody else.” This inevitability is part of the claustrophobia, and yet Frederiksen’s works are always darkly funny. They remain a litmus test for our folly and our ability to see, in a very human way, that we are inevitably linked to chaos.
Peter Frederiksen (b. 1987) lives and works in Chicago. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, focusing studies on painting, drawing, and fibers. His work has been exhibited extensively in Chicago, and most recently in London and Milan, and can be found in numerous private collections. Human Cannon Ball was his second solo exhibition with Galleri Urbane, following his sold-out exhibition In Stitches in 202
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