After a mini-hiatus, we are back with Sara from Brown Paper Bag for Time Travel Tuesday! This week she wrote about Viola Frey, a Bay Area artist who explored gender power & dynamics in her expressive, figural ceramic sculptures. Don’t forget to visit BPB for my post on Jean Charlot, a French muralist whose work blended the folk cultures of Mexico and Hawaii. It was chance that I first came upon the work of Viola Frey. I was at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City to see an exhibition on paper, and wandered downstairs to discover Frey’s larger-than-life ceramic men in brightly colored suits and ties. I hadn’t seen anything like it before!
Viola Frey emerged in the art world during the time of the Abstract Expressionists which influenced the way she handled her painting and ceramic pieces. She was best known in the California Bay Area for her ceramics, turning it less towards craft and more towards an expression. Specifically, this was of her observations of gender and power. We see men depicted in business suits while women are often nude, with men holding a burden in their uniform.
All images via the Nancy Hoffman Gallery.