Noel Freibert at Lubov

Artist: Noel Freibert

Exhibition title: Halo in a Hayloft

Venue: Lubov, New York, US

Date: November 23, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Lubov, New York

A friend of mine began riding horses this past spring. For her, it’s part of a larger exploration in power—apparently working with horses is all about power. The quiet kind. Like communicating with the flexing of your thigh, and the unspoken force woven between both your bodies. The horse can sense your mood as you near it; your approach is everything. The horse will not budge without some trust; you have to partake in a dance between the lines of equality and dominance, respect and control.

I began eating meat for the first time in my life because  I felt powerless. Consuming  meat felt like a literal answer to depletion (both physical and emotional). I don’t always feel comfortable with eating animals; I often experience more disgust and shame than pleasure—but it’s become this symbolic choice. I’m sick of feeling like prey, and I’ll consume some blood to understand that feeling a bit better. One way of looking at eating animals, someone told me, is that you are consuming the animal’s properties when you eat it. So, eat a cow, and become more cow. It’s simple and kind of beautiful.

To cook steak, I learned a trick to tell how well-done it’s become. You must press on the soft fleshy part of your inner-thumb and compare its consistency to the cooking fillet. This is the kind of meat-eating I love—when my body and the cow body are cooked to the same touch.

In Noel’s drawings and sculptures of animal effigies, I feel distant enough to understand modes of attachment, and the way we sometimes perform two contradictory things at once. Like the line between brutality and tenderness. How can a certain type of touch be careful and caustic at the same time? What about the kind of touch that is repetitive, becomes ingrained to your body’s rhythm, but then goes missing–so it’s absence is all the more present? Like a body after a breakup. Or the halos we reserve for the things we can not have.

A dog licked my ear the other day, and I thought about a past boyfriend. It was weird.

“Witchcraft capacity may also be acquired in innocence if one should unsuspectingly eat meat that is in fact human flesh. The fatal meat may be consumed ‘at night’ that is, in one’s dreams, but it’s nonetheless binding” Is this what I am after—a type of magic? Not necessarily a good kind, but the kind that can bind me closer to whatever beast I feel like I cannot defeat. I wanted to change, so I started eating meat. Perhaps I wanted to consume a much more fatal kind of meat, consumption of human flesh–or human emotion. Bring me closer to feeling with these times, digest the political, finding where the personal and the symbolic can lead me to its gate. I think that’s the kind of meat I’m after.

—Amanda Horowitz, October 2019.

Noel Freibert (b. 1985, Louisville, KY) lives and works in Baltimore, MD. His work has been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris, Nottingham, and Baltimore. Halo in a Hayloft is Noel’s first solo exhibition in New York.

Noel Freibert, Halo in a Hayloft, 2019, exhibition view, Lubov, New York

Noel Freibert, Halo in a Hayloft, 2019, exhibition view, Lubov, New York

Noel Freibert, Halo in a Hayloft, 2019, exhibition view, Lubov, New York

Noel Freibert, Halo in a Hayloft, 2019, exhibition view, Lubov, New York

Noel Freibert, Halo in a Hayloft, 2019, exhibition view, Lubov, New York

Noel Freibert, Twins, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 26 x 20 inches

Noel Freibert, Shepherd, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 26 x 20 inches

Noel Freibert, Night Horse, 2019, Acrylic on canvas and muslin, 28 x 22 inches

Noel Freibert, Twins at Night, 2019, Acrylic on canvas and muslin, 24 x 20 inches

Noel Freibert, Friend and Food, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 28 x 22 inches

Noel Freibert, Mother and Child, 2019, Acrylic on canvas and muslin, 26 x 20 inches

Noel Freibert, Lamb #1, 2019, Muslin and foam, 20 x 14 x 16 inches

Noel Freibert, Straw Baby, 2019, Canvas and hay, 43 x 42 x 38 inches

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