Richard Freeman, a Johnstown painter and mixed media artist, will be the featured artist at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts’ 2019 Fulton Montgomery Art Show. His pieces will be displayed alongside work from artists who live and work in Fulton and Montgomery Counties as well as the work of students from the region’s elementary, middle and high schools.
The third annual Fulton Montgomery Art Show, which opens on April 4, was made possible in part due to a Community Arts Grant from Saratoga Arts. The grant supported this show as well as an upcoming project to build a labyrinth on the arts center’s grounds. The show will hang until May 1, with a Meet the Artists Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 11, 6-8 p.m. Admission to the reception is free, while regular gallery admission through the rest of the show’s run is $5 or free to members of the Nigra Arts Center, children under 18 and artists who have work in the show.
Richard Freeman is a frequent entrant into the Nigra Arts Center’s exhibitions, having had his work featured in six shows there since 2016. Born in Mount Pleasant, PA, he moved to New York as a small child and attended kindergarten in Fonda. He later went to school in Perth and Johnstown and attended high school in Amsterdam. After his schooling, Freeman worked at the Townhouse restaurant, formerly the Rainbow Restaurant, in Johnstown for more than 22 years. After it closed, he worked at Sam’s Seafood and Steakhouse, then the kitchen at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. Freeman’s work experience has allowed him to cultivate a love for the culinary arts as well as the visual.
Throughout his life, Freeman has loved art and sought opportunities to experience it in different forms and cultivate a personal style. He has devoted much of his free time over the years to exploring different aesthetics and experimenting with new techniques in search of ways to bring new elements into his work. Largely self-taught, Freeman also improved his skills through classes with Lexington’s Creative Expressions program and, more recently, at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts.
“I have always loved art,” Freeman said. “It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to see a piece completed. Art helps me relax and forget about the stress of life.”
Freeman uses oil paint for some of his pieces, preferring it over other media for its blending ability and the time it offers him to work through ideas and color combinations. His true focus, though, is in mixed media. His signature style involves using glue on a surface to create texture, then coating the piece in multiple layers of paint for depth. He finishes his pieces by rolling the raised areas with metallic paint to mimic metalwork. The results are unique, industrial-looking, dynamic pieces with a beautiful display of both visual and physical texture.
Freeman’s artwork has been featured in a number of galleries throughout New York, including the prestigious Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, the Sagamore Hotel in Bolton Landing and Northville Public Library. One of his pieces was selected to be featured in the Arkell’s 2017 The Art of New York: Annual Juried Art Show, an exclusive exhibition featuring the work of artists from across New York. Several of Freeman’s pieces have earned awards at exhibitions, including a fourth place award at a 2013 Arc New York show at the Sagamore and an honorable mention at the 2018 Voice! exhibition at the Martin Mullen Gallery at the State University of New York in Oneonta. Freeman has participated for several years in SVAN Art Trails and was a featured artist at Gloversville’s Micropolis gallery in 2012.