A glass of wine holds a memory. To be more precise, the glass holds two memories; a recollection of a time and of a place both recent and ancient. The first recollection is of a vintage; a recent memory of a particular growing year where environmental factors shape the wine in your glass. The memory of a vintage is a memory of what occurs above the earth over the course of a single year. A glass of wine also holds an ancient memory. A recollection of what happened long before a vine was planted; a memory held deep below the vineyard in the layers and layers of sedimentary and volcanic soils that trace back millions of years.
In painter and winemaker James Frey’s new series Recollections, he explores these twin memories of the land where grapes are grown. Above the horizon, the active elements of sun, heat, wind and rain that drive so much of what an individual vintage will become are represented in a series of dynamic colors, textures and shapes. The line transecting the painting represents the vineyard itself and its role in uniting the history beneath with the elements above. Below the vineyard, subtle horizontal lines cross the compositions suggesting the striation of the soil; while delicate vertical lines move downward through the layers of energy and force of the earth.
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.