Napa, CA, January 31, 2019 – di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art will showcase the work of Viola Frey and its own significant collection of Northern California art in two exhibitions in 2019. On view February 23 through December 29, 2019, Viola Frey: Center Stage marks the artist’s first major institutional survey on the West Coast since 1981 and includes more than 100 works of art, offering a fresh take on Frey’s prolific and influential practice...
Frey, a fiercely independent artist up to her passing in 2004, is best known for her larger-than-life figurative ceramic sculptures. Viola Frey: Center Stage traces her career through a chronological progression spanning five decades. A large portion of the featured work—which includes not just ceramics, but also painting, drawing, photography, and bronze—has never been shown publicly.
Monumental ceramic works, including The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization (1992) and China Goddess Group (ca. 1979–81) will be shown alongside early works from the 1960s and 1970s, presenting an unprecedented look at the artist’s thinking and process. The large-scale presentation will occupy di Rosa’s 8,500-square-foot Gallery 2, marking the first time the gallery has been devoted to the work of a single artist. The exhibition draws from a mix of di Rosa’s extensive holdings, generous loans from Artists’ Legacy Foundation, and private collections.
“Frey’s wide-ranging interests—from identity to class, culture, consumerism, and environmental issues, with an undeniable undercurrent of feminist statement—parallel many of the pressing issues of our day,” observes curator Amy Owen. “This presentation is a long-overdue look at an artist working far ahead of her time.”
This is the first of three major solo exhibitions at di Rosa, rolling out over 2019 and 2020, focusing on singular artistic voices in Northern California art history. Exhibitions in 2020 will feature the work of Jean Conner and Deborah Remington. The series shines a light on the artists’ years living and working in the Bay Area, highlighting their shared impulse to draw inspiration from the personal, cultural, and environmental realms, and how critical aspects of the region enabled their work to develop and flourish. While their practices may not be viewed as overtly feminist, their distinct approaches to art making and their strong, independent spirits demonstrate an approach to feminism rooted in lived experience and unshakeable determination.
Viola Frey was born in Lodi, California, in 1933, and died in Oakland in 2004. She received her BFA and an honorary doctorate from California College of Arts and Crafts and attended graduate school at Tulane University. She was awarded two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the Award of Honor in Sculpture from the San Francisco Arts Commission, and many other grants and awards. Her work is in numerous public and private collections worldwide...
This exhibition is curated by Amy Owen in conjunction with the Artists’ Legacy Foundation, Oakland.
For details about upcoming public programs related to the exhibitions, visit www.dirosaart.org.
ABOUT DI ROSA CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art presents contemporary exhibitions and educational programs for all ages and maintains a permanent collection of notable works by artists living or working in the San Francisco Bay Area from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. A wide range of styles, media, and subject matter provides an overview of the creative energy and freedom to experiment that characterizes this region of California. di Rosa features multiple galleries, a sculpture park, and a 35-acre lake, located on 217 scenic acres in Napa Valley’s famed Carneros region that are protected in perpetuity under the Napa County Land Trust. di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art is located at 5200 Sonoma Highway, Napa. The galleries are open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. For more information, visit dirosaart.org.
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