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Viola Frey: Center Stage

  • di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art 5200 Sonoma Highway Napa, CA, 94559 United States (map)
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A fiercely independent artist up to her passing in 2004, Viola Frey is perhaps most widely known for her larger than life figurative ceramic sculptures. This exhibition offers a long overdue opportunity to trace the artist’s career through a chronological progression of work spanning five decades in a range of media, many of which have never been shown publicly. The artist’s wide-ranging interests across identity, class, culture, consumerism, environmental issues, and most notably, an undeniable undercurrent of a feminist statement that placed women at the fore, parallel many of the most pressing issues of our day. What is revealed is a fresh overview of an artist working far ahead of her time.

The exhibition marks the artist’s first major institutional survey on the West Coast since 1981 and includes over 100 works of art in ceramic, painting, drawing, photography, and bronze, offering a unique opportunity to present this important body of work to a new generation. Monumental ceramic works including The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization(1992) and China Goddess Group(1979-81) will be shown alongside early works from the 1960s and ‘70s for the first time, presenting an unprecedented look at the artist’s thinking and process. This large-scale presentation will occupy di Rosa’s 8,500-square-foot Gallery 2 exhibition space 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 with generous loans from Artists’ Legacy Foundation and private collections.