'Hazmat Love' by Tom Friedman
‘Hazmat Love' (2016) by Tom Friedman is currently on display at the entrance of Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. The sculpture embodies the American artist's technical craftsmanship and unique creative philosophy. The work depicts two figures, clasping hands and engaged in what could be a dance, embrace or greeting. The artist describes the scene as a "dystopian romance - love in a toxic environment".
Both figures have their faces hidden under protective masks, and their bodies concealed by the baggy shape of a hazardous materials suit. The work is titled after this protective clothing, used by fire-fighters, medics, researchers and specialists cleaning up contaminated facilities and toxic spills. Working in a hazmat suit is very strenuous, as they tend to be less flexible than conventional work garments and air flow is restricted, and this is reflected is the broad movements of the figures' limbs.
This work was cast in magnificent detail from a maquette originally fashioned by Friedman out of everyday oven roasting trays. The artist delights in the creases and lines embedded in the thin, malleable foil as the disposable and everyday is transformed by Friedman's alchemic touch.
The display of this work at Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum was organized by Richard Klein, Exhibitions Director, and Amy Smith-Stewart, Curator, at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.