Sedalia artist Douglass Freed was recently recognized for his lifelong contributions to the art world both nationally and internationally.  

Freed recently received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who’s Who. Freed has been featured in the “Who’s Who in American Art” for the last 39 years. He said this new honor is very gratifying.

“I got in it when I was really, really young which is pretty amazing,” he said at his studio Tuesday. “But, I was showing in one of the premier galleries in New York City all during the ‘80s and ‘90s. And it brought me a lot of recognition.”

He noted he was surprised to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

A media release from Marquis Who’s Who states Freed, the former Daum Museum of Contemporary Art director/curator and art instructor at State Fair Community College, has more than 40 years of contributions in his field. The award endorses him as a leader in fine arts and museum administration.

Freed has exhibited in major cities across the United States and had work represented in the Art in Embassies Program in Dakar, Senegal, in 2005. During his career, he has also served on the board of the Missouri Arts Council, Sedalia Arts Council, the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation and the Mid-America Arts Alliance.

“From an early age, he knew he wanted to become an artist; his ambition was realized upon winning a statewide art contest as a fourth grader,” the release stated. “Mr. Freed attended Fort Hays State University, completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1967 and a Master of Arts in 1968.”

Freed said he retired from SFCC and the Daum in 2008 but has continued to exhibit and create work. He still shows in Miami, Florida, Charleston, South Carolina, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kansas City, St. Louis, Houston, Texas, and Chicago, Illinois.

He added that over the years his work and his audience have changed.

“I was an abstract artist for half of my career, until about ’95,” he said. “I was doing those big color field structures … and I started seeing different references to nature through color field. Clouds, landscapes — not literally, but they suggested it. It’s not something that was planned, it just happened.”

This set him on his current path of painting soft focus, nature-inspired images.

“My work has always had that kind of peaceful quality about it,” Freed said. “Even the ones that are pretty abstract.”

Freed recently began a new series in oil, “Lake Sunset,” created in vibrant colors. This is a new stroke of the brush for Freed who usually paints in softer more “meditative” hues.

“These are pretty garish, I’m kind of having to warm up to these,” he said of the new work. “But it’s fun. It’s really fun playing with color because for so long, for two winters I did these black and white (trees). I was just ready to do some color.”

Freed has been using photos as a reference in the new series.

“What I do is take photographs and then I kind of invent the image from the photograph,” he said. “So, I’m taking skies, sometimes I shoot them and sometimes I find them, and then I Photoshop things and play with it a little bit.

“My work is never about copying the image,” he continued. “It’s about the invention using the photo as a source. I like to start with the source and then respond to that image. I took a couple of these photographs and then I saw some photographs online. I thought ‘oh my god the skies are incredible.’ So, it was a great opportunity to segue into really full chromatic (paintings).”

Although he hasn’t shown the work yet, the new series is getting a good response on Freed’s Facebook posts. He plans to possibly show the “Lake Sunset” series in Miami and Charleston.

Freed’s next show will be in the spring in St. Louis where he will show a body of work that hung in a show at the Hayden Liberty Center Association for the Arts. The work represents six tree-related images.

For more information, visit www.dougfreed.com.

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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