Jake Fried "MAXIMUM EFFORT: OUT OF NOTHING, INTO NOTHING" @ Superchief Gallery NFT, NYC
With the release of his Genesis NFT “Raw Data”, contemporary artist and graphic animator Jake Fried amplifies the walls of Superchief Gallery NFT with a solo exhibition of motion paintings and ancient revelry, Maximum Effort: Out of Nothing, Into Nothing. Opening on Saturday July 10th and on view through July 16th, his latest body of work reflects on the recent boom of Big Tech and Blockchain as a fluid organism of collective consciousness. The exhibition, which serves as Fried's debut solo outing with the gallery, offers both critique and celebration of a post-lockdown world in which virtual life has become eerily quotidian.
Sifting through the psyche’s shifting relationship to technology and the transhuman, Fried is a process-focused artist whose frenzied, stream-of-conciousness hand-drawn works are the result of a daily ritual drawing practice. Rendered in ink, white-out, gouache and sometimes even coffee, the Boston-based artist reworks the same drawing up to thousands of times, in what amounts to a moving painting.
A formally trained artist, Jake’s stellar accolades include showing his experimental films at the Tate Modern and Sundance Film Festival alongside contract work for Adult Swim and Netflix. A multidisciplinary maker who shifted the course of animation with his uniquely rhythmic shorts, Fried’s more recent foray into the NFT game reflects an effort to shore up a more direct and sustainable revenue stream for creators. He is a bridge for a generation of nimble animators who intend to up the ante on the reception of their work in the Fine Art context. Amidst the contemporary circus of avatars and cyber jamboree, Fried’s short looping animations fuse timeless nirvana with digital discord - ultimately revealing the singularity between user and technology.
Two additional NFTs will be minted as editions based on the 5 second looping ink and white out on paper animations Still Life with Lemons (for Margot) and Goodnight Moon (Patterns for Margot). Made within the first couple years of his daughter’s life, these two pieces reflect Fried’s shift in work rhythm to include teaching his University classes remotely from home while Fathering. With classic children’s lit firing up the synapses, we find Fried’s mark making practice radically attuned to his 19-month old’s feeding and nap patterns.
Uniquely defying the trappings of any genre, Fried’s optical illusions transmit an air of primordial longing, with the artist’s own audio compositions syncopating the flow. While Goodnight Moon is perhaps most recognizable as a riff on the popular children’s bedtime story (fans call it “Goodnight Moon on Acid”) with Fried we likewise encounter the moon as a much larger cultural symbol overlaid with mystical implications and a connection to ancient avenues of thought. Amidst casual plumbing of daily domestic objects and revamping the most revered signage of expanding consciousness - the curious movement of the pieces themselves remains primary. While much of the mainstream animation world remains in gridlock recycling the same handful of predictable tropes, Jake Fried insists these NFTS are meant to be viewed sequentially, as if lit by candle on an ancient evening tiptoeing through a dark cavernous tunnel filled with fabled glyphs.
These freely accessible virtual tableaus are meant to be looped endlessly. In a world in which more complex characters such as anti-heroes and fierce mother men are badly needed, they amplify the voices of all experimental animation. With oracle-style uncanny yet familiar fortitude, Fried’s foray into the NFT realm not only elevates the quality of work discussion for all animators, it immortalizes an incredibly painstaking process - call it a MAXIMUM EFFORT. In artworks captured one frame at a time and destroyed through creation - what some critics have situated as a “viewer generated narrative” or “hallucinatory vistas” - these motion paintings continually regenerate themselves. “Out of nothing, into nothing,” says Jake.