With some artistic oeuvres sometimes you actually have no choice but to stand back and look on in awe at the sheer complexities and depth of skill that are encapsulated by an artist’s prints. That’s just the truth. Artistic brilliance can be powerful. In this instance, that is what we get. That is the precise sensation we feel when we gaze at Fried’s Brain Lapse, an ink-drawn rapidly moving animation created by the artist’s adroit layering, whiting out, sketching and drawing process, and we here plaudit the uncanny way in which ingenious things are done with time in this animation. But that is not all that we can discern in Brain Lapse.
In the intervals of time we see not only the motifs of man and nature, but we get a story that is revealed in the rising suns and the growing plants, the construction of buildings and the revelation of man, the conspicuous juxtapositions of barbed wire and brick, grass and the natural landscape – and it all makes us think, akin the man with the pencil deftly cocked in the notch between ear and cranium. These minute prolepses that we get between each layer are both remarkable and paradoxically eerie, signifying irrevocable changes in time, and culminating in the strange disintegration of all things.
There is a range of similar works by Jake Fried, with subtle variations in medium – from crayon to gouache. Here though, in cyclical waves mans’ ideas trump nature and nature man, and it seems that the medium with which Fried’s work is conceived and realised, the ink pen, both symbolically lies at the crux of this dialectic and is perfect for portraying the inherent story. It’s power; it’s powerful. It is unique, it can be appreciated on many different levels, and that is why it is truly astonishing artwork.
By Sophia Francis