Viola Frey Art Gallery Exhibit: Echoes of Images
USA- New York, NY | Oct 10 2012 | (22:58:27 - EDT)
“Echoes of Images,” a posthumous show of works by Viola Frey in sculpture, drawing, painting, bronze and glass, opened this fall season at Nancy Hoffman Gallery on Sept. 6 and will continue through Oct. 20th.
Viola Frey, known for her larger-than-life ceramic figure sculptures, had a vocabulary of images all her own. “Every Man” in his blue power suit, “Every Woman” in her birthday suit, were her two most identifiable icons. “Echoes of Images” honors the artist’s vision and vocabulary with works in two dimension and three dimension with parallel images. Frey worked fluidly back and forth between her creations of sculpture, drawing and painting.
Works from Frey’s Estate, dating back to the ‘70s, in small scale and grand scale fill the gallery, communicating Frey’s love of the human figure, along with her focus on certain objects and subjects that she used over and over in her work. Most of the works in “Echoes” have never before been exhibited.
“Standing White Man in Hat” is depicted in a 4-foot high hand-built sculpture, a haunting quiet figure that presages the artist’s 3 white glazed monumental works from her 2004 final body of work, a standing man—almost 11 feet in height, a seated woman—over 6 feet in height, and an urn—7 feet tall.
“Standing White Man” is echoed in a painting on paper entitled “Studio View, Two Men in Silver Suits.” Two men stride through a room filled with energy and gesture. One of the men wears a suit and hat like the “Standing White Man,” the other strides through the doorway, escaping from the swirl of creative activity.
In a plate entitled “HK in Doorway, Artist’s Hand Prints,” a similarly suited and be-hatted figure stands in a doorway, stopped in his tracks, surrounded by painterly strokes; Frey’s hands are visible on the left and right sides of the plate. From sculpture to plate to painting on paper, the image of man with hat echoes—a motif, a leitmotif, an unforgettable figure.
In several oil paintings on paper a man in a power suit looms large looking down at his world, hands on hips; he surveys a kingdom of figures and figurines based on the artist’s figurine collection. For years Frey frequented flea markets around Oakland, bringing home objects she could carry on the bus. She created a figurine museum in her home, lining closets with shelves to house the porcelains.
Many of her flea market acquisitions became subjects in her paintings and sculptures. Some figurines appear in many guises, favorite images: the Venus de Milo, the horse, the dog, the rooster, a Wedgwood couple, an urn, a blond bobbed head of style from the ‘50s, Raggedy Ann, among others.
Echoing the man in his power suit in Frey’s paintings is “Little Big Man,” a monumental sculpture, 10 feet in height. “Little Big Man” stands tall and proud, his mouth forming an “o,” perhaps exclaiming, perhaps singing, perhaps about to whistle, glazed in a vivid palette of reds, oranges and blues.
A small sculpture of a seated nude woman with one leg extended like a ballerina sits in front of a primary colored high-key pastel, depicting a woman in the same position. As one gazes back and forth between painting and sculpture, one is struck by Frey’s command of form and her desire to abstract form through her use of color.
Frey was as devoted to color as she was to the human figure. She used color as a tool to abstract the forms she carefully hand-built, thus, the body became a vehicle for her patchwork of color dancing across the surface, the color communicating the human spirit and zest for life one senses in all of Frey’s oeuvre.
Source and Images Courtesy: Nancy Hoffman Gallery
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