A World of Possibilities

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Artist
Lifespan
1933-2004
Nationality
Information
Art Type
Media / Materials
Status
Year Completed
1993-95
Credit
Collection of Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa
Location
Latitude & Longitude
41.58724, -93.628519
Location Description
South Lobby, ground floor, 801 Grand Avenue

Viola Frey’s giant ceramic sculptures of men and women are among the under-appreciated wonders of late 20th-Century art. Rising upwards of eleven feet, they have an imposing physical presence and a clunky, cartoonish ugliness.

 

Artist Viola Frey in her studio
Artist Viola Frey in her studio

 

Roughly glazed in strident colors and made in sections that fit together like blocks in a stone wall, they could be mistaken for a species of Outsider art. Because of their size and their blank or seemingly angry expressions, they may remind you of what it was like to be a child among grown-ups troubled by incomprehensible problems. Apart from their scale, the painterly treatment of the figures’ surfaces draws the viewer’s attention. With a brushy, Fauvist approach, Frey gave the man in the incandescent suits slashing white and orange highlights and added purple shadows to his yellow face. He is as much a three-dimensional painting as a conventional statue.

 

Detail of column
Detail of column

 

 


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Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation

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