Pia Fries at Paris Modern

Paris’ Museum of Modern Art exhibits “Parsen un Module” by Swiss painter Pia Fries (to May 20, 2018). The work consists of 30 identically sized paintings (created in 1999) which have word play titles beginning with “par” forming words such as “parsmal,” “paramodi,” “partiner” and “parfanz,” The paintings with gluttonous clusters of scraped, sculpted and moulded paint juxtapositions are emblematic of her “image-object” style, which has been described as being on the cusp of painting and sculpture.

The “Parsen un Module” series is accompanied by another more recent group of paintings inspired by the Dutch engraver Hendrick Goltzius’ “The Four Disgraces” (1558-1617). Here Fries incorporates suggestive fragments alternating with impasto and long streaks of vividly colored paint interpreting the Renaissance master’s dynamic use of line.

Curator and art historian Dana Friis-Hansen described the artist’s work in “New Perspectives in Painting”  saying: “Her use of color is daring and inventive, swinging widely between “recognizable” standards such as baby boy blue and sun yellow and unexpected mixes of orange, white, and purple churned together then smeared into yellow wiped through with pale green. It is with panache and intelligent control that she juggles so much at once, pushing and pulling us between mark and void, light and heavy, fast and slow, horizontal and vertical, straight and curved. Pia Fries pulls it off.”

Pia Fries “Parsen und Module,” to May 20, 2018, Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.