New York

Pia Fries

CRG Gallery

Pia Fries’s Loschaug suite, 2005–2007—eight paintings, on eleven wood panels in all, that together the artist considers a single work—was inspired by the naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian, a German/Dutch woman who at the turn of the eighteenth century made a two-year stay in Suriname, then a Dutch colony, today an independent nation on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. Merian went with a plan in mind: to conduct a study of the insects of the region, eventually published in 1705 under the title Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium, full of her meticulous engravings of butterflies and moths, beetles and bees, and of the specific plants with which they symbiotically live. A divorced mother in her early fifties, traveling with her teenage daughter, and working on a self-generated project in an entirely male-dominated field, Merian seems a sympathetically modern figure, and indeed

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