by MF in New Art on Friday 2 November 2012

Artist Mike Frick paints portraits. The work is perhaps casual in the sense of materials – often on cardboard, with corrugations, creases, and printing showing through. There is, however, nothing casual about the energy that shines from each painting. From quick sketches to more detailed pieces with built up surfaces, there is always an urgency in the paintings. The energy of the artist comes through in the energy of the brushstrokes and colors, resulting in a spontaneity and a momentum that is truly engaging.

The figures (whether or not they have open eyes) gaze directly at the viewer and wear a variety of expressions. From surprised or mournful, aggressive or indifferent, their scrutiny ultimately challenges a viewer to stare right back and try to get to know them. Who are you and what exactly are you trying to say? Why did the artist paint your picture? And why that way?

Ultimately, the questions boil down to: What stories can a face tell and how much does a viewers own experience contribute to (and therefore twist) that narrative? What can be learned from a painting? Through his work, Frick insists, the answer is going to be different for each of us, but always significant.