Winemakers love to hear that their wines have a “sense of place”. To them, it means they’ve allowed the soil, the site, the climate and the growing season to shine through in their wine (as opposed to over-manipulating the wine with enzymes, additives and oak). Wines with a sense of place are a result of careful site selection, mindful farming, and a deft winemaking touch that lets the grape tell the story versus the hand of the winemaker.
In painter and winemaker James Frey’s new series A Sense of Place, he has conscientiously begun each piece without a pre-conceived notion of where the painting would finish (much like a winemaker’s approach to a new vintage). He allows the painting to develop quite organically as he tries to depict the intersecting influences of ancient soils both volcanic and oceanic in origin, wet earth, nourishing rain, warm sunshine, cooling wind and the many other elements unique to any one place and unique to any one particular vintage. The resulting work has a wonderful level of complexity, nuance and energy; while still being held together with a sense of cohesiveness, a sense of place.
James Frey began taking and developing his own photos at the age of 12. Three years later, he began working full-time as a newspaper photojournalist and by the age of sixteen became the youngest recipient to receive an award from the California newspaper association for his work. He continued to work as a photojournalist in order to pay his way through college. In his late twenties, Frey turned to painting and developed a passion for abstract expressionist works. His paintings of rich, deep hues and vibrant contrast create a powerful sense of color, shape, and energy. In order to create a greater tactile quality, at times he’ll incorporate vineyard cuttings, pinot noir skins and vineyard soil into a piece.
His paintings have been sold to collectors throughout North America. He also has work hanging in Great Britain, France, Sweden, Central America and Brazil.