Against All Odds
"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true" – Friedman offers a quote from Richard Bach's "Illusions."
The areas of grey charcoal that float on the white paper's expanse are similar to an elegy, like the elegiac epigrams of Robert Motherwell, the American abstract artist. These lines, squeezed together in an expressive intensity that echoes Aviva Ori, which return and make spaces between them, create a grid that is reminiscent of Moshe Kupperman: similar to a sensitive seismograph - like expressive lines on a frowning forehead (without preserving the layering process which documents the duration of the work's process found in Kupperman). And, there are lines that cut out states of emotional density on the paper. Anger, mourning, personal or political crisis [as revealed in a drawing containing a battery of lines that split in the middle of the paper, and on them written the words "Something Has Been Broken," made she says after Rabin's assassination]. And there are those that uncover some sort of sudden disorientation, capitulation, blockage, withdrawing to airy decorativeness, which seeks to disguise a shriek by means of a pleasant and polite atmosphere. Her best drawings benefit from both. It can begin with a decisive line and conclude with soft and cautious threads from which a uniform expanse of light flutters, and wide, white margins. Always margins. Zila Friedman is a painfully well-mannered artist. In the act of drawing she seeks to defy yet also thank the Creator for having given her this state of grace, her small plot of the divine, where she heeds to act with restraint, with rationalization, and from which she does not wish to run wild or be seized by a gluttony of drawing.
It's precisely the polite margins, the impeded lines, the balls hanging in air on a thread in a kind of forced playfulness and optimism, precisely the ever so fragile civility - that divulge what she does not allow herself to articulate, and what she does not allow herself to articulate continues to echo from the empty margins, from between the lines, unifying the motifs that she insists upon clinging to. The rod. Whether it's found on the ground at the bottom of the drawing, or hanging in air in the domain's upper space. This is a simple rod in the role of a rod. Not a closet rod that can be used for juggling and creating miracles. Just a simple rod similar to a cane that helps one walk through the drawing's grooves, in the white fields of paper. A "functional" rod that competently balances the compositional structure. A thick lined element that curves at its end and supplies a kind of pungent, distinct and typical accent. When the rod appears, the entire drawing emerges from it or organizes itself around it.
From an article written by Naomi Aviv, Without Words, Manny H, Neve Tzedek, Tel-Aviv, 1998