Artist Peyton Freiman Reveals a Side of America “Long Gone and Missing…”

Photo: © Rosalie Szeto

Hailing from Memphis, TN, painter Peyton Freiman (b. 1983) comes from a family of artists and craftspeople with roots in the deep South. From his earliest years, Freiman was surrounded by the work of regional artists, including Caroll Cloar, Ted Faires, Walter Anderson, and Glen Ray Tutor, which helped to cultivate his burgeoning aesthetic. As Freiman came into his own, he was drawn to the California skater and stoner scene, as well as the counterculture stylings of Robert Crumb and Raymond Pettibon. This singular blend of influences made for the perfect mix, an original recipe for a vision unlike anything else.

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In 2014, Freiman moved north, relocating to Brooklyn and becoming part of the art scene that has taken hold over the past decade. His work can currently be seen in Long Gone and Missing… at Shin Gallery, New York, now through September 10, 2016.

Peyton Freiman. Bro don't even get me started on Jekyll Island. I mean fuck man., 2015, Mixed Media on Paper on Canvas, 78 x 42 in. (198 x 107 cm.)

Peyton Freiman. Bro don’t even get me started on Jekyll Island. I mean fuck man., 2015, Mixed Media on Paper on Canvas, 78 x 42 in. (198 x 107 cm.)

The works presented here are rendered in a wide array of mediums including drawing, paintings, and collage. The alluring charm of Frieman’s aesthetic is further heightened by the casual glamour of the exhibition installation. Featuring wide-stripe wallpaper in fun colors like green, orange, and white that evoke a cabana-like vibe, the floor of the gallery is covered in sand for the ultimate summertime vibe. At the center of the gallery is a single work, a sail hoisted amid a pile of wood and discarded red Solo cups, creating the feeling of good times, bonfires, and nights on the surf.

The easy breezy style of Freiman’s hand belies a mind that expresses its disillusionment with United States government. Things are not to be taken at face value, no matter how charming the image looks. Instead, Freiman invites us to look below the surface of things, to travel into time and space to investigate modern-day conspiracy theories alongside its greatest proponents: white stoner culture with a fetish for the exotic.

Peyton Freiman. And Chand Sang Amazing Grace, 2015, Mixed Media on Paper, 38 x 38 in. (97 x 97 cm.)

Peyton Freiman. And Chad Sang Amazing Grace, 2015, Mixed Media on Paper, 38 x 38 in. (97 x 97 cm.)

Freiman scoops us up in the Mystery Machine and takes us on a wild ride through a place that straddles the divide between the privilege of the leisure class and its ability to romanticize reality for its own use. In this way, Freiman reminds us that it is the very nature of the bourgeois to provide a of plausible denial necessary to avoid any and all responsibility.

Thus, Long Hone and Missing… is a curious affair: the illusion of pleasure at a price that is much to high to bear. But one of the trappings of the middle class is its ability to rationalize and play cat’s paw as though it is possible to pass the buck forever. Freiman counters these assumptions with subtle wit and polite disdain, revealing his fundamental misgivings concerning his own place in a world where imperialism has become a shell game. Long Gone and Missing… reminds us that knowledge does not equal wisdom, and as such, it would behoove us to remember that pursuit of happiness is like being trapped on a carousel, convinced that you’re running the derby on a live horse.

Peyton Freiman. And Chand Sang Amazing Grace, 2015, Mixed Media on Paper, 38 x 38 in. (97 x 97 cm.)

Peyton Freiman. Chad’s Tahitian time share, 2015, Mixed Media on Paper, 38 x 38 in. (97 x 97 cm.)

All artwork courtesy of Shin Gallery, New York.

Miss Rosen is a New York-based writer, curator, and brand strategist. There is nothing she adores so much as photography and books. A small part of her wishes she had a proper library, like in the game of Clue. Then she could blaze and write soliloquies to her in and out of print loves.