Lucy Fradkin is a self-taught artist whose passion for art and art making has informed her life for as long as she can remember. She was raised in and near New York City and has had the great fortune to use the myriad museums as a resource for intensive personal study. The iconography of the graphic and design styles of the 1940s and 1950s, from which she draws her early aesthetic sensibilities, influences her work to this day. She has dedicated her life work to developing a personal voice and a skilled craft.
Fradkin is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including a Pollock-Krasner Grant, an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant, a Sharpe Foundation Space Grant, two Fellowships in Drawing/Works on Paper from the New York Foundation for the Arts, five Artist-in-Residence Grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, an Artist-in-Residency at Altos de Chavon, an affiliation of Parsons School of Design in the Dominican Republic, a Solo Exhibition Grant from Artists Space and an Artist Grant from the Vermont Council for the Arts.
Fradkin currently lives on Staten Island. She has lived in rural Vermont and travelled extensively in Mexico, Guatemala, Italy, Greece, the Domincan Republic, Haiti, France, Turkey, Spain, Morocco, Jamaica, Venezuela which has had profound influence on her artistic viewpoint.
Fradkin has exhibited widely in the US and Europe at venues including the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the American Academy in Rome, MoMA/PS 1, The Queens Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, The Weatherspoon Art Museum, The Holter Museum of Art, The Bellarmine Museum, The Nicolaysen Museum, The Brattleboro Museum, The Park Avenue Armory, The Alternative Museum and many other national and international venues.
Fradkin’s work has been reviewed, featured and received critical acclaim in many publications including New York Times , The Boston Globe, ArtsObserver.com, ARTSlant, Art in America online, Hyperallergic, ArtLog, Visa Magazine (Japan), Southern Vermont Arts Magazine, Yankee Magazine , The Keene Sentinel, Casper Star Tribune, SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY Catalog, NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY Magazine, Canberra, Australia, Mutts Magazine (Japan), New American Painting Number 32″, The Westchester County Times, New York Press, Exibart,Siglo 2, and the Village Voice among others.
Throughout these years, in addition to exhibiting, and teaching, I have lectured on my work at many institutions including Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbertide, Italy, Anderson Ranch in Aspen, Colorado , Hunter College in New York City, Sala Convegni Camera di Commercio in Cagliari, Italy , Rhode Island School of Design Rome Program in Rome, Italy, Temple University Rome Program in Rome, Italy, The American Academy in Rome The Islip Art Museum in East Islip, NY and The New York Public Library.
With sources ranging from the ancient frescoes and mosaics of Etruria, Rome and Byzantium to Indian and Persian miniatures, from vernacular, hand-painted signage to folk art, my paintings capture timeless moments through a contemporary lens. Since 1998, I have focused on creating portraits of a broad range of individuals, painted in oil or gouache on paper and board. Consciously rooting my works in the rich tradition of genre painting, I place figures, often women, in domestic settings. My figures are reticent and static, endowing my scenes with a mysterious and solemn aura. Though my work is clearly inspired by traditional art forms, I maintain its relevance through the quiet presentation of issues of gender and race, informed by personal history.
I use color and pattern in my paintings to evoke emotion, to tell stories of daily life and to draw the viewer into an intimate world. In many of my works, I incorporate collaged decorative elements, sourced from old catalogs, field guides and vintage books. By meticulously cutting and pasting significant motifs and images, I develop intricate designs, rendering my surfaces more distinctive and my works as a whole more visually complex.