Woman in Blue and Yellow II (May Lady) is a towering sculpture by San Francisco Bay area sculptor Viola Frey. Here Frey depicts a larger-than-life woman in a 1950’s style dress.
Although one might assume that such a large-scale human figure might overpower the viewer, the positioning of the figure’s body produces a different effect. The woman’s arms are raised in front of her as though she is trying to protect herself. The expression on the woman’s face also adds to her tenseness as it conveys a sort of restraint—her bright red lips appear to be tightly pursed and her large eyes are looking upwards and outwards, away from the viewer.
Frey’s messy coats of paint do not fully cover every inch of the sculpture. Additionally, the five-part construction of the sculpture itself is disorderly; the woman’s hands are not seamlessly attached to her wrists and the form of her figure is bulky. The use of color, brushstroke, and form help create a sense of cacophony, further illustrating the possible distress the woman feels, in contrast to the fearsome appearances of De Kooning’s women.
Ultimately, this artwork’s formal construction undercuts its large size and instead depicts the woman as someone much smaller, at least metaphorically.
Artist: Viola Frey
Title: Woman in Blue and Yellow II (May Lady)
Medium: Ceramic and glazes
Dimensions: 104 x 26 1/2 x 17 in. (264.16 x 67.31 x 43.18 cm)
Collection: The Buck Collection at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art
Copyright: © 2018 Artists’ Legacy Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY