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Don Freeman Portfolio 2: Blue
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Notes on BLUE view bio

"To name is to destroy, to suggest is to create," wrote the poet Stéphane Mallarmé. Had Don Freeman lived in the nineteenth century, he would have aligned himself with Mallarmé and his fellow symbolists. The symbolists—among them Paul Gaugin, Charles Baudelaire, Claude Debussy—were a group of painters, writers, and musicians who rebelled against the scientific exactitude of naturalism and realism. More concerned with the spiritual world than the physical, they appealed to the viewer’s emotions more than to his rational mind.

Freeman's greatest influence is the symbolist painter Odilon Redon, who explained that his art was commanded by his dreams. Freeman is similarly concerned with the subconscious, as well as the afterlife. In "Blue," he says he wanted to create images that were "euphoric, light, heavenlike." To Freeman, there is nothing pessimistic about a dead flower

Lillies and Cabbage Roses were photographed at the French medieval gardens of Château Guyoniere, where, according to tradition, flowers are not allowed to be pruned and carried off, but are expected to be enjoyed even in their decay. "I visited the garden in late July," says Freeman. "The previous week there had been an awful storm followed by very hot weather and most of the flowers had died. I'm passionate about things that have gone through a lifetime and are ready to curl up and add themselves to the universe."


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