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Official Opening Friday 22 July 2005
 
6:00 – 8:00pm

Words have never adequately described the visual impact of Dale Frank’s canvases. His inordinately place-specific titles aside, Frank’s recent ‘landscapes’ allude to neither real nor imagined vistas. Although non-representational in intent, the huge plasma-like abstractions provoke powerful, emotional responses.

In the early 1980’s Frank’s paintings had indeed featured landscape imagery, albeit of an hallucinatory kind; the strident, acid-hues and cataclysmic energy of those works attracting the attention of international critics and collectors alike. Over the ensuing years however, his evolving, ideological concerns prompted reciprocal changes in his artistic expression and by the late 1990’s, Dale Frank was investigating the very essence of painting itself. He began experimenting with commercial varnishes and the complex chemical reactions that occur when certain pigments are added. Ever alert to new creative possibilities, he observed at least twelve responses that he was eventually able to replicate at will.

For Dale Frank, colour in its liquid form is “a living entity”. Poured onto the horizontal canvas surface, luminous pools of pigmented varnish immediately begin to resist and coalesce; the viscosity and drying times determined by seasonal temperatures and humidity. As further layers are added, the angle and direction of the varnish flows are controlled by the manipulation of wedges and blocks placed beneath the painting. “It is a totally hands on and cerebral way of painting,” declares Frank. “Much more intense than a half-centimetre brush and tubes of oil paint. The process can take up to 24 hours where I have to be permanently standing over the painting, constantly considering every minute aspect.”

Amidst the glistening, marbled flows and ponderous slides; the slow-creeping bleeds and animated squiggles, we glimpse the mutability of all forms and substances in life. Dale Frank’s visionary eloquence and technical ingenuity assure his place at the forefront of contemporary art practice. Earlier this year he was awarded Australia¹s richest painting prize - the “Arthur Guy Memorial Prize”, which is hosted by the Bendigo Art Gallery in Victoria.

 

Born 1959, Dale Frank currently lives and works in Queensland. He is represented in the Australian National Gallery, Canberra; the Guggenheim Museum, N.Y.; the Kunsthalle, Zurich; the Trans-Art Collection, Milan and institutional, regional and corporate collections worldwide.

                  JACQUELINE HOUGHTON

 

 

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