September 14, 2017

Pia Fries and Radcliffe Bailey

Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech

(1) Pia Fries, fahnenbild b (detail), 2012. Oil on panel, 48 7/8 x 66 7/8 inches. Collection of Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz. © Pia Fries; photo: Hans Brandli; courtesy of the artist and CRG Gallery. (2) Radcliffe Bailey, Windward Coast–West Coast Slave Trade, 2009–11. Installation detail. Piano keys, a plaster bust, and glitter. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery.

The Moss Arts Center ushers in its 2017–18 season with two one-person exhibitions: a succinct selection of paintings and prints by the internationally acclaimed artist Pia Fries and a sculptural installation along with several paintings by the renowned artist Radcliffe Bailey.

While distinctly different in concept, media, and technique, the work of both artists is powerful and visceral in impact while delving into connections between the past and present, concepts of movement, transition, and transformation.

The center’s fall exhibitions open with a reception on Thursday, September 14, 2017, from 5–7pm in the Grand Lobby of the Moss Arts Center, located at 190 Alumni Mall in Blacksburg, Virginia. The evening will also feature a conversation with Bailey, beginning at 6pm. The galleries and all related events are free and open to the public.

Bailey is a painter, sculptor, and mixed media artist based in Atlanta, Georgia, who layers found objects, materials, and charged imagery in works that explore the rich heritage of African Americans. In the installation Windward Coast–West African Slave Trade (2009–11), Bailey references historical and ancestral communities and migrations, including enslaved African peoples escaping through Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp, while examining concepts of identity, race, culture, and the mnemonic power of objects. Bailey’s work will be on view in the Moss Arts Center’s Miles C. Horton Jr. Gallery and Sherwood Payne Quillen ’71 Reception Gallery.

A Swiss artist based in Dusseldorf and Munich, Germany, Fries’ paintings integrate silkscreened fragments of 16th- and 17th-century Baroque and Mannerist prints into a hybrid fusion of figuration and abstraction, art historical tradition, and adventurous innovation. Characterized by audacious color and thick pigment vigorously applied with brushes, spatulas, and palette knives, her abstract works represent a hybrid fusion of painting and printmaking. Intense color and paint advance across expanses of empty white surfaces in a statement about the intersection of movement and stasis, past and present, and art and life.

Fries’ exhibition presents a selection of paintings and prints from two renowned collections—the Pizzuti Collection and Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz Collection, from the CRG Gallery in New York; Christopher Grimes Gallery in Santa Monica, California; and Crown Point Press in San Francisco, respectively. The work will be on view in the Moss Arts Center’s Ruth C. Horton Gallery and the Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor.

The fall exhibitions are curated by Margo Ann Crutchfield, the Moss Arts Center’s curator at large.

Designed by Snøhetta (Oslo/New York), the Moss Art Center at Virginia Tech is a 150,000-square-foot multipurpose art and research facility, with a 1,260-seat theatre, visual arts galleries, labs, studios, classrooms, and a state-of-the art experimental performance lab for immersive environments, installations, performances, and research working space. The Moss Art Center presents a world-class program of 25+ performances annually and 8-12 temporary exhibitions, featuring art by established and emerging artists from artists’ studios, galleries, private collections, and museums. The Moss Art Center is located at Virginia Tech, one of the United States’ leading research universities, in southwestern Virginia, offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students.

Press inquiries: Susan Bland, subland [​at​]

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