Charley Friedman’s work is concerned with the residue of humanity—from God to garbage—and how American cultural identity is constructed around signifiers that have no inherent significance beyond what is ascribed to them. Exploring the ways that objects take on value from sacred to consumable, Friedman questions how objects become meaningful and how society agrees to this assignation of value. Through sculpture, performance, photography, drawing, and video, he tackles how we internalize and filter the world through magical thinking, institutionalized religion, and consumer culture (including their rituals, values, and sacred items) that reinforce our own ego-centric world view. The work is psychological and pungent, with an underlying interest in eliciting emotion from the viewer. Friedman’s approach is to use humor as a material. Humor has no mass or volume yet is infinitely malleable. It can magnify vulnerabilities and prejudices, revealing individuals' humanity. Humor allows the ideas to take root in the body; it comes from the gut and is inherently emotional. The crux of Friedman’s practice is to explore the absurd, tragic, and contradictory nature of living that humor can uniquely portray.