San Francisco

Dawn Fryling

The Lab

The Bay Area has long been associated with mildly expressionistic figurative painting, but in the ’80s installation work has emerged here as another important regional art tendency. San Francisco artist Dawn Fryling belongs to a new generation of installation artists coming up behind already prominent people such as David Ireland, Tony Labat, and Paul Kos.

I’ve seen only two works Fryling has shown and both have been impressively straightforward and lyrical. The first, a piece titled Nine Marks, 1988, appeared in a juried group show. It consisted of nine thrift-shop overcoats hung on the wall in a row. On the edge of invisibility as art, the piece might have been inert, but it was redolent with emotion. It brought to mind Yeats’ famous image of age (“A tattered coat upon a stick”), the old garments suggesting human hides. The piece also bore references to Joseph Beuys, Jannis Kounellis,

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