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Arts Playlist: Delaware Contemporary hosts "Vivianus"

The newest exhibit at the Delaware Contemporary sources inspiration from outsider art, a 70’s era Hollywood cult and German punk rock.

While trained in printmaking, Philadelphia based artist Leslie Friedman uses mixed media for her exhibit “Vivianus,” now showing at the Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington.

Influenced by Pop Art, Friedman explores human identity and belonging through the story of a utopian island on which outcasts communicate through rock 'n' roll music.

The artist references a variety of sources in the show including German musician Nina Hagen in a video installation.  

“She’s not trying to be your typical female vocalist,” says Friedman. “She never has and in this song you hear this really raspy, growly voice which I think is inspiring, especially today when we’re talking more about gender fluidity and what it means to be a woman or a man or something in between.”

Friedman got her Masters of Fine Arts degree from Temple University but studied political theory and civil liberties as an undergrad at Brown University.

“My work is always very political but this piece while still political aims to tell the story of these people who run away from their lives to live on an island together.”

The artist employs a variety of new media techniques in her work including photoshop in the lithograph, “A Surreal Expression of Particular Currents.”

“The faces are actually compilations of several faces,” she says. “When I’m sourcing my imagery, if I find something out there on the internet that I like, rather than take it wholesale, I combine it with two or three other images so that way it becomes something completely new and in that, is an opportunity to play with racial and gender ambiguity.”

The artist’s exhibit “Vivianus” is on view at the Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington through June.


This piece is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.