Picture of the Week: Cuz by Marcia Freedman

July 29, 2023

Cuz, Marcia Freedman, 2012, oil on canvas, diptych: 72 x 96 in.

Marcia Freedman is a Detroit artist known for her abstract paintings. She earned her BS and MFA from Wayne State. She has been featured in several solo exhibitions throughout her career, including shows at Rotunda Gallery at the University of Michigan, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, the Pearl Monard Gallery at Ohio State University, Western Illinois University, Cary Gallery in Rochester, Michigan, Start Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan, Macomb Community College, Paint Creek Center for the Arts in Rochester, Michigan, and the Chicago Gallery at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Freedman has also participated in countless exhibitions throughout the country. She is the recipient of many awards, such as second place at Detroit Artist Market’s Abstraction Exhibit in 2015, the fourth round winner at Art Slant in 2010, and the Foremost Insurance Award from the Holland Area Arts Council in 1991, among many more. To add, her work is part of the public and private collections of several institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, Michigan, the Detroit Receiving Hospital, Ernst and Young in Detroit, and the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit. 

Freedman draws from and contemplates a variety of ideas within her artwork. She composes her paintings through critical observation, personal experience, along with memory and reaction to events. Although she opts for abstraction, which is traditionally considered emotionless, Freedman’s work is rich in emotional metaphors. These emotions not only reflect personal experiences, but they expand to address broader social and political ideas. Freedman also draws from family history, along with nature and science, “to explore unconscious feelings and the potential for investigating new ideas describing the fluidity of life”. She deconstructs her forms without eliminating the emotional depth of her work. Freedman describes her work as “a ritual of making and dancing” as she explores the infinite possibilities of paint. 

Freedman’s use of emotion and metaphors within abstract work is evident in her 2012 painting Cuz. She shares that this title refers to a cousin she was very close with, someone who was like a sister to her. The work is a diptych, consisting of two canvases with forms that are in dialogue with each other. Freedman employs varying shades of blue, yellow, orange, and green. She does not isolate the colors, rather they blend and spill into each other. As the composition moves to the right, the paint becomes increasingly more green. Perhaps the interactions between the colors, particularly the blue, yellow, and green, are a metaphor for Freedman’s bond with her cousin. There is just enough of the blue and yellow visible to identify Freedman and her cousin as individuals, while the green illustrates their closeness and sisterhood. Freedman’s brushstrokes are highly expressive, perhaps to communicate the love she has for her cousin and the pain that comes with missing her.

Written by Angela Athnasios

Sources: Marcia Freedman


Return to archive