Walt Freckmann, a Door County-based artist and former executive director of the Fairfield Art Center, will unveil his first art exhibition in Sturgeon Bay on Thursday, December 3. Titled “Reflections,” the solo exhibition will launch with a free wine and hors d’oeuvres reception from 5:30 – 8 pm at the Richard Steinberger Studio Gallery on Sturgeon Bay’s West Side. The artist will give a short presentation at 7 pm, and he will be available to answer questions.
Freckmann said most of his paintings are abstract expressionist, but he has created a few pieces that would fall into the category of pop art.
“My art is organic, visceral and spontaneous,” he said. “It flows freely from a place deep inside, with often unexpected results. The work may appear simple on the surface, but as with most things in nature, you’ll find complexity in its depth of detail.”
Indeed, upon close examination, the paintings reveal intricate patterns that come alive with aggressive movement, color and texture. Working with acrylics on paper, Freckmann has applied color forcefully to capture images that seem to well up spontaneously but are actually quite deliberate in their execution. He avoids easily recognizable shapes and forms, and as a result, his artwork reflects back to the viewer what he or she brings to the experience and not the particular point of view of the artist — hence the title of the show, Reflections.
“In my experience, no two people look at one of my paintings and come away with exactly the same emotional response,” he explained. “I’m fascinated by what people see of themselves in my work.”
Freckmann’s interest in fine art came from studying the works of Door County’s own Emmett Johns, whose abstract expressionist work Freckmann and his wife began collecting in the early 1980s. He commented that the work of Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock and Claes Oldenberg also had a strong influence in his artistic development.
Born in Milwaukee in 1949, Freckmann spent four years in the U.S. Air Force serving in Vietnam and Europe. After earning a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Freckmann had a 35-year career in marketing communications. While serving as executive director of the Fairfield Art Center in Sturgeon Bay, he forged friendships with many of the Door County artists who exhibited their work in the Fairfield’s galleries.
“Door County has some of the finest creative people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with,” Freckmann said. “It’s an honor for me to have the opportunity to join this impressive community of artists.”
“Reflections” will run from Dec. 3 to Jan. 2 at the Richard Steinberger Studio Gallery, 59 S. Madison Avenue next to T. Simon Jewelers. The “Reflections” exhibition will be open to the public from 10 am – 5 pm on Fridays and Saturdays during the month of December, and from 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday, January 2. The exhibition will be closed on New Year’s Day.