Historical Journal

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Bill Freeland: Excavation

March 8, 1985
Judith Stein

A writer and curator, studied at Barnard College, and has a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Eye of the Sixties, Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2016). Her curatorial projects include Red Grooms, A Retrospective, for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and The Figurative Fifties, New York School Figurative Expressionism, co-curated with Paul Schimmel. Her exhibition, I Tell My Heart: The Art of Horace Pippin, traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1995, and earned a best catalogue award from AICA/USA. Her articles, interviews and reviews have appeared in Art in America, Art News, and The New York Times Book Review, as well as on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Among her honors is a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant; a Pew Fellowship for literary non-fiction; and a Lannan Foundation writing residency in Marfa, Texas.

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March 8 through April 21, 1985
The work is a result of a trip I took to the Aran Islands and the northwest coast of Ireland, in the fall of 1981. My encounter with the stark natural forces of the area’s landscape and sea left a lasting and powerful impression that has influenced both image and materials.
The work I do bears upon the basic rituals of living. More than an art theorem, it is a by product of living, a life query. The final result I wish not to be tied off, but to be open ended, creating an aura more than a static finality. To work in this way is to embrace intuition with reverence and awe.
The larger proposal pieces suggested in this exhibition present additional concerns. To move out into the field as a sculptor, I feel it necessary to mesh materials and image with the landscape. I want these works to function on an ecological level as prefabricated ruins, preserves and sanctuaries for wildlife. Above all, the works must be statements of the visual, functional, and spiritual concerns I have at this time.

Bill Freeland
Bill Freeland’s work is shown through the courtesy of the artist.
1 Galway Rocker, 1982
Wood, canvas, stone, wire
14 x 10 x 16″
2. West Northwest Wind, 1983
Wood, stone, steel, clay
21 1/2 x 47 x 9 1/2 ”
3. Red Hue’s Friary, 1983
Wood, canvas, stone, steel, mesh
43 x 39 1/2 x 31/2 ”
4. It’s Jimmy and the 1st Bn. Irish Guards, 1984
Wood, canvas, rubberized fabric
27 1/2 x 10 x 5 3/4″
5. Irish Jig, 1982
Wood, canvas, stone, copper
92 x 33 x 9 1/4 ”
6. Love Bridge, 1984
Wood, canvas, stone, clay
18 x 17 3/4 x 4 5/8″
7. A Tomb for Himself, 1984
Wood, stone, steel mesh, copper
23 x 12 x 19″
8. Excavation, 1983
Steel, wire mesh, stone, rope
47 1/4 x 36 x 7″
9. Off the Port the Cliffs of Moher, 1984
Wood, stone, steel mesh
17 x 41 1/8 x 6″
10. Hags Head Day Marker, 1984
Wood, stone, steel
73 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 44 1/2
11. Rock Cradle, 1984
Wood, stone, steel mesh
28 x 39 1/4 x 36″
12. Celtic Barrow, 1984
Wood, stone, wire mesh, copper
19 x 36 x 8″
13. Irish Landscape, 1984
Wood, canvas, stone, copper, oil paint
16 x 14 1/2 x 5″
14. Souvenir, 1984 (edition of ten)
Stone, wire mesh, glass, paper
11 x 11 x 1 1/2 ”
15. Red Hue’s Friary, 1984
Oil on paper
34 3/4 x 49 1/2″
16. Celtic Barrow (first vision) 1984
Pastel on paper
29 1/2 x 28 1/2 x 1 1/2″ framed
23 1/2 x 22 3/4″ unframed
17. Celtic Barrow (as architecture)1984
Oil, pastel on paper
41 x 80 x 1 1/2 ” framed
34 x 24″ unframed
18. Celtic Barrow (final version) 1984
Pastel, oil on paper
27 1/2 x 43 1/2 x 1 1/2 ” framed
24 x 40″ unframed
19. Cross Crypt, 1985
Wood, glass, stone
62 3/4 x 20 x 19 1/2 ”
20. Fumes of Fancy, 1985
Wood, glass, steel, rock
Two parts -Top triangle
18 x 18″ Bottom 42 x 48″
21. Sailing to Byzantium, 1985
Wood, rock, copper
Approximately 101 x 33 x 12″
22. Donegal Friary, 1984 (three parts framed)
Oil on paper, wood, copper
Each framed 211/2 x 341/2″
Unframed 17 x 28″ Each unframed
23. Irish Pastoral VII, 1985
Cor-Ten steel, rock
13’4″ x 74″ x 85″

Born in Pittsburgh in 1929 Bill Freeland graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art in 1955. Two years later he studied at the Hans Hofmann School. He has since taught at numerous area schools, most recently at Moore College of Art where he is currently Professor of Art. Freeland has spent nearly ten years reclaiming an abandoned quarry site in Malvern, PA, where he has designed and built a home and studio space.
His work has appeared in a variety of group exhibitions in the last twenty three years including: Color, Birmingham Art Museum (1962); Artists Tribute to John F. Kennedy, Swarthmore College (1964); Henri Gallery, Washington, DC (1974); Olympia Galleries, Ltd., Philadelphia/Atlanta (11977); Eric Makler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (1978); Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Annual, Greensboro, NC (1979); From the Winston Malbin Collection, Vassar College, Princeton University, University of Michigan (1980); The Fine Art of Business, DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA (1981); Gallery Group, Max Hutchinson Gallery, New York (1982); WOO Sculpture, Tricentennial, Philadelphia Art Alliance (1982); Sculptural Ideas, Max Hutchinson Gallery, New York (1984); Wind and Water, Quebec 84, Quebec, Canada (1984); New Directions, Executive Mansion, Harrisburg, PA (1984).
Solo exhibitions include: Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA (1956); Chester County Art Association, West Chester, PA (11957); Little Gallery, Princeton, NJ (1959 and 1961); Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA (1964); University of Delaware, Newark, DE (1967.); Immaculata College, Frazer, PA (1970); West Chester State, West Chester, PA (1972); Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE (1972); Touchstone Gallery, New York (1978 and 1980); Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA (1981).
This past year Bill Freeland won the Purchase Prize at the University of Delaware, Newark, for the second time, having first received the honor in 1968. He was also awarded a Faculty Development Research Grant from Moore College of Art for work in Ireland and England in 1981. Other grants, awards, and purchases include: ITT Collection Purchase (1980); Hereward Lester Cooke Foundation Grant (1978); Montclair Museum Purchase, Montclair, NJ (1978); and several prizes and commissions from the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE.

Selected Bibliography
Recorded Activities. Philadelphia: Moore College of Art, 1970.
Bill Freeland. Introduction by Bruce St. John, New York: Touchstone Gallery, 1978.
Sculpture Outdoors 79. Ambler, PA: Cheltenham Art Center, 1979.
Bill Freeland. Introduction by Eric Siegeltuch, New York: Touchsone Gallery, 1980.
From the Winston-Malbin Collection. Preface by William Hennesssey, foreword by Lydia Winston Malbin, Poughkeepsie, NY: Vassar Art Gallery, 1980.
Sculpture 300. Introduction by Nancy Graves, Philadelphia: Philadelphia Art Alliance, 1982.

Bowman, David. “Bill Freeland, Reversing the Roles of Intent and Aesthetics,” Arts Exchange (March-April 1978).
Buonargurio, Edgar. “Bill Freeland,” Arts Magazine (May 1978).
Henry, Gerrit. “New York Reviews,” Art News (May 1978).
Russell, John. “Art Reviews,” New York Times, October 24, 1980.
Wolff, Theodore F. “Reviews,” Christian Science Monitor, October 1980, p. 19.
Blau, Douglas. “New York Reviews,” Flash Art (Jan.-Feb.1981).
Phillips, Deborah C. “New York Reviews,” Art News (February 1981), p.224
Wolff, Theodore F. “The Many Masks of Modem Art,” Christian Science Monitor, March 24,1981, pp. 24-25.
Milstein, Alan. “Art,” Philadelphia Sunday Bulletin, December 27, 1981.
Donohoe, Victoria. “Bill Freeland,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 1, 1982.
Madoff, Steven H. “Collectibles,” Money (September 1983), p. 85.
Wolff, Theodore F. “Sculptural Ideas,” Christian Science Monitor, January 16, 1984.
Gordon, Suzanne. “Living,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 16,1984.
Brady, Kathy. “Living,” Daily Local News [West Chester, PA], June 21, 1984.
The Morris Gallery displays the work of outstanding conemporary artists with a connection to Philadelphia, determined by birth,.school or residence. The exhibitions are chosen by a committee composed of area artists, museum personnel and collectors, and the curatorial staff of the Academy. Currently serving on the Morris Gallery Exhibition Committee are: Cynthia Carlson, Jennie W. Dietrich, Ofelia Garcia, Dr. HeIen Herrick, Harold Jacobs, Jay Richardson Massey, Charles Mather III, Cheryl McClenney, John Moore, Mark Rosenthal; Academy staff Judith Stein, Morris Gallery coordinator, Frank Goodyear, Jr., Linda Bantel, Betty Romanella; and, Academy students Ed Lewis and Anna Yates.
Copyright, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1985.
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