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‘Seductive Surfaces’: La Jolla’s Fresh Paint Gallery showcases ‘stunning’ encaustic pieces

Fresh Paint Gallery in La Jolla is showing "Seductive Surfaces," featuring pieces by artist Linda Frueh.
Fresh Paint Gallery at 1020-B Prospect St. in La Jolla is showing “Seductive Surfaces,” featuring pieces by artist Linda Frueh.
(Courtesy)

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La Jolla’s Fresh Paint Gallery, which specializes in making art accessible, has opened a new show featuring the encaustic work of Linda Frueh.

Gallery owner and curator Deborah Williams said she is “very excited about the show,” titled “Seductive Surfaces.”

“I haven’t seen that much encaustic work around in San Diego,” she said. “I think this is kind of unusual.”

Encaustic painting is an “an ancient technique that uses melted beeswax mixed with resin and pigment, applied in multiple thin layers,” Williams said.

The technique nets “luminous” results, she said. “It has a kind of translucency to it and wonderfully textured surfaces.”

“Seductive Surfaces” includes 20 pieces from Frueh, who hails from Del Mar. “The work is just stunning,” Williams said, with some pieces incorporating broken glass or fabric to add texture in “fascinating” ways.

Williams said Frueh studied physics at MIT before making “a complete change in her life, [going] to art school. I think you can sort of see that scientist at work in some of her pieces. It’s sort of paring things down to essentials and a focus on simplicity.”

"Oceanside" is one of the pieces featured in the “Seductive Surfaces” show at Fresh Paint Gallery in La Jolla.
“Oceanside” is one of the pieces featured in the “Seductive Surfaces” show running through Nov. 29 at Fresh Paint Gallery in La Jolla.
(Courtesy)

The show runs through Nov. 29 and will include artist’s talks Oct. 18 and Nov. 14, during which Frueh will speak about her inspiration and process.

“I imagine she’ll talk a little bit about her unusual technique,” Williams said, which involves using a blowtorch to attain the desired result.

The talks will be limited to four people each, with face masks and social distancing required as coronavirus safety measures.

Williams opened Fresh Paint Gallery in early 2019 with a focus on contemporary art. “I try to choose art that feels necessary, has a little bit of urgency to it [and] has something important to say,” she said.

Williams said she looks for emerging local and international artists who are “developing a unique voice and vision. I try to bring in things that are different or unusual.”

“I have a love for art,” Williams said. She worked in many galleries when she was younger and began her own collection of emerging Indian artists while living in India with her family for 11 years.

“That led to work curating emerging Indian artists,” she said, “and when we moved back here, I felt it was something I wanted to continue.”

Williams, who lives in La Jolla with her husband and daughter (her son lives in New York), said she has a Ph.D. in English with a specialty in rhetoric, “the study of how we communicate … how people are persuaded.”

Her degree includes “visual rhetoric,” she said, “so I find that’s a very useful tool kit for understanding art.”

Fresh Paint Gallery’s goal is to show “art that’s challenging, a bit edgy and still affordable,” Williams said. “We try to choose art that would appeal to people new to collecting.”

When she was researching opening a gallery, Williams said, she found there “wasn’t a gallery selling contemporary art that was affordable. We want to make art within reach but have really high-quality art. That’s why I focus on emerging artists, because you can get incredible quality at a very good value for the money.”

In line with current health guidelines, the gallery’s shows no longer open with a wine-and-cheese event but instead are focused on more-intimate gatherings with the artists, which in some ways is “a little bit better,” Williams said.

“When the room is packed, it’s noisy,” she said. “You can’t always learn a lot; you can’t really talk much to the artist. I think having the small group artist’s talks is a benefit. People can ask questions and hear about the process.”

Collecting art is especially important now, Williams said. “We need art even more during these times, especially abstract art, [which] we respond to with our emotions. ... [That] can be very nourishing and soothing and even cathartic.

“I would also say in this day and age, when our lives are so full of technology and machine-made things, having … the warmth of something that’s made by hand and is original is a really great thing.”

Fresh Paint Gallery is at 1020-B Prospect St. For more information or to register for an artist’s talk, visit freshpaintgallery.com.

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