Magdalena Suarez Frimkess is eighty-eight years old and still working every day. She was born in Venezuela and lived as a young woman in Chile where she took courses in painting and sculpture. She met her husband, the ceramic artist Michael Frimkess, when she came to the United States on a fellowship in the early 1960s, and for many years, after he developed multiple sclerosis, she worked jointly with him, decorating the crisp surfaces of the pots he turned on a wheel using the little-known technique of dry throwing. A few of their collaborative pieces are on view in the show, including an especially lovely dish with three painted, frilled carnations on the round, flat center. But the show is dominated by her own handmade work with wobbly lids and tattered handles and spouts; ragged along the edges, the uneven surfaces prickly from grog and indented with imprints of the potter’s hands. These pieces, rugged and tactile, have the expressive and sculptural freedom of children’s pottery, and at the same time, the decoration is often arduously painted with a technique that’s been compared to cloisonné. Artistically, Suarez Frimkess is fearless, pulling in everything—Pre-Columbian art, Delftware, Japanese block prints, comic book characters, and private landscapes from memory—for her subject matter.
via Modern Mag
While one vessel may show pre-Columbian motifs, another is probably Minnie Mouse donning a Prada bag or the bust of Nefertiti. It is this diversity combined with the artist’s playful poetics and a humble hand that make Magdalena’s stories relatable.