Joan Snyder in her early paintings wrote her obsessions, scratched them, dug them into the surfaces, writing those uncontainable emotions amidst the juice and color of paint. Friedberg’s palette is more somber, but the colors that are not, the reds for instance, sing out, or burn in, or blossom forth. You need them just where they are, and were they not there, the light in the paintings would go out. Friedberg knows what she wants to do with color.
So Friedberg is a narrative painter. She has stories to tell even if she tells them cryptically and symbolically. People lie on benches, in hammocks and on chairs they sit mutely around tables, swing like shy trapeze artists above forlornly recumbent figures. Except for the flying figure, they don’t have arms, and you can rarely tell the difference between male and females, although sometimes a tie gives a man away; long blond hair, a woman.