Pia Fries

Pia Fries

On her arrival at Aurobora, Fries abandoned the vibrant clots and buttery rivers of paint that have become hallmarks of her work.  Instead she embraced a restricted palette and the use of common materials for her project.  Fries printed fractured transfers of botanical illustrations from the 17th century artist Maria Sybilla Merian on corrugated board (with some areas cut away to expose the ribs of the cardboard construction) to establish a dialogue between her chosen materials and her subject matter.

In these constructed works, Fries shatters common spatial intervals, allowing the open space in each composition to act as a single gesture. In doing so, the artist creates a disjunction within her work, a cleavage prone to extension, shrinkage, and even disappearance. This visual rupture ultimately produces unpredictability with no defined pattern, a composition that lacks a notion of rest or resolution.

Here images migrate into the compositional field and are forced to compete with hard-edged spaces and ripples of excavated carved-out patches of cardboard.  The result is that Fries presents a fixed image based on continuous variations.  Nevertheless, amid a deceivingly chaotic appearance there remains coherence in the artist’s choices that anchor each composition.  Surprising intersections of burlesque forms that teeter toward the baroque are points of departure for the artist’s gestural hand.  Here the hybrid of printmaking, painting, and collage intertwine as Fries samples from all of these methods.  In the end, what emerges from this body of work is a stark physical presence that vibrates with possibility as it simultaneously threatens to fade away.




July 2005





Kunstmuseum Winterthur,  CHKunstmuseum Luzern, CH; Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, CH; Binding Stiftung, Basel, CH; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, D; Neues Museum, Nurnberg, D; Niedersuchsische Kulturstiftung Hannover, D