Pia Fries (born in 1955 in Beromunster, Switzerland) studied under Gerhard Richter at the Art Academy in Dusseldorf, where she developed her signature style. It is defined by her use of paint as material—rather than letting composition and coloration be the central determinants of the way her canvasses look, she uses textural patterns and crisscrosses to construct and reconstruct them. Like islands, her feathery and occasionally geometric marks hover above a white ground, either isolated or linked by color trails and strands. Ken Johnson, writing in The New York Times, said of them, "The paint itself seems to have absorbed the playful spirit of the artist and taken on a comically agitated life of its own. Call it abstract animism." Painting 1991-2006 surveys Fries' work over the past 15 years.