Olsen Gruin is pleased to present Dale Frank, the eponymous solo exhibition comprising 15 abstract mixed media paintings by the established lauded Australian artist. The large, colorful and self-reflective wall pieces, mostly composed of Epoxyglass on Perspex with additional nontraditional materials, possess droll biographical titles that range from pornographic to melancholy. The personification of each piece created through its unique, unfinished narrative conjures empathy, humor and wonder in addition to its abstract visual beauty and polished technical execution. Dale Frank will be on view at Olsen Gruin from September 5 – October 7, 2018.
Dale Frank is one of Australia’s premier international artists known for avant-garde, interdisciplinary, works often inspired by music. Steven Alderton, curator and Director of the National Art School, Australia, notes, “Dale Frank’s paintings observe everything that surrounds them. They engulf the viewer, pop culture, the everyday, and the politics of the moment. They are provocative and aggressive whilst enticing and alluring. The viewer is captured within the sheer surface of the seductive picture plane; you are trapped in a distortion of self and truth as you gaze upon yourself. Frank exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in the early eighties, in the Personal Structures exhibition at Palazzo Bembo, 55th Venice Biennale, the Armory Show New York and more recently at Art Basel Hong Kong and Los Angeles Contemporary Art Fair. He is a significant artist with much to say about painting, the act of painting and contemporary culture.”
There is a ghostlike presence of the artist in every painting. Contemporary painting, seems to establish a physical connection to the one who left their marks. Painting suggests a physical connection to the one who made it, tending to bring its author, the artist, into effect.
As a painter’s painter who explores explores the authorial voice and indexical trace of mark-making, Dale Frank investigates the metaphysical potency of the painting process through an emphasis on gesture, alternative materials, and pictorial space. He emphasizes the temporal and physical process of artistic creation. Within this series, Frank alludes the ghostlike presence of the artist in contemporary painting and the circuitous relationship between a painting, the physical connection to the one who made it, and the effectual connection to the artist as author.
“Painting presents both the artist’s life-ness, and liveliness in the form of a material object, which is not reducible, and that non-reducibility might be its special attraction. Painting’s capacity to appear saturated with the life and the labour time of the artist, while remaining distinct from it, makes it the ideal candidate for value production in the new economy: the contemporary experience that is busy absorbing life. Indeed, painting could be perceived as a demonstration of how value is founded on something concrete — the living labor and the life of the artist. Painting seems to be the last place where the desire for a concrete foundation of value seemingly gets fulfilled.”
we encounter in the index signs of painting is not the authentically revealed self of the painter. As indexes these signs are able to suggest the (imaginary) presence of the absent artist. Painting is, in other words, a highly differentiated language that consists of countless ever-expanding techniques and methods, which allow for the fabrication of the impression of the artist’s presence as an effect.
For an artwork to be considered valuable it must first be attributed to an author - one could say thereby loaded with intentionality. This process becomes intensified in the case of the indexical signs, the artist seems to have left traces (even if the work is mechanically produced, or a collection of adhered objects), enhancing the impression of an intentional artwork, of an artwork that is “an emanation and a manifestation of the artist.” Painting, then, has to be understood as an art form that is particularly favorable to the belief that by experiencing or purchasing a work of art, it is possible to get a more immediate access to what is assumed to be the singularity of the artist, and their life.
All artworks possess a kind of “memorial power” because they are associated with a person whose power operates quite literally in that painting. Painting is therefore particularly well equipped to satisfy the longing for an (imaginary) substance in value. Indeed, painting could be perceived as a demonstration of how value is founded on something concrete: the living labor and the life of the artist. Painting seems to be the last place where the desire for a concrete foundation of value seemingly gets fulfilled.
“Painting presents both the artist’s life-ness, and liveliness in the form of a material object, which is not reducible, and that non-reducibility might be its special attraction. Painting’s capacity to appear saturated with the life - and the labour time - of the artist, while remaining distinct from it, makes it the ideal candidate for value production in the new economy, the contemporary experience that is busy absorbing life.” – Dale Frank, 2018
Dale Frank is one of Australia’s foremost contemporary painters. Frank has been exhibiting nationally and internationally for over three decades. Frank’s work has been included in major exhibitions, such as; Every Brilliant Eye: Australian Art of the 1990’s, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2017); Shut Up And Paint, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2016); Dancing Umbrellas, curated by Sue Crammer, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2016); Luminous World, National Art School, Sydney (2016); and Lurid Beauty: Australian Surrealism and its Echoes, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2015). Frank was included in Dark Heart, curated by Nick Mitzevich, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 2014. In 2013, his work was featured in Personal Structures at the Palazzo Bembo as part of the official program of the 55th Venice Biennale. He has been included in three Biennales of Sydney (1982, 1990 and 2010) and he was selected for the major survey exhibition, Contemporary Australia: Optimism at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2008). A major solo retrospective of his work was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney in 2000. In 1983, Frank was included in the exhibition Panorama della post - critica: critica ed arte at the Museo Palazzo Lanfranchi in Pisa along with Thomas Lawson and Anselm Kiefer. In 1984, Frank was included in the Aperto section of the Venice Biennale and Junger Europaischer Maler (Young European Painters) section in the exhibition, Europe-Amerika: 1940 to the Present, at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Frank’s paintings are held in every major public collection in Australia as well as museums worldwide, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and the Kunsthaus, Zurich. A major monograph on Dale Frank’s work, ‘So Far: the Art of Dale Frank 2005-1980’ was published in 2007.