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JH

Dale Frank Panorama

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Dale Frank's installation of paintings at Gow Langsford Dale Frank, The beginning of a lot of sunsets, 2011, varnish on linen, 2000 x 2000 mm Dale Frank, Devon is my favourite luncheon meat, 2011, varnish on linen, 200 x 2600 mm Dale Frank, The boy with three nipples and lovely locks, 2011, varnish on linen, 2000 x 2000 mm Dale Frank, I lost my thumbnails in a surfing accident, 2011, varnish on linen, 200 x 2600 mm Dale Frank, Wesley's TurtleNeck and turtle Head, 2011, varnish on linen, 2000 x 2000 mm Dale Frank, Soaked white bread, 2011, varnish on linen, 200 x 2600 mm Dale Frank, They confiscated my Tusks, 2011, varnish on linen, 2000 x 1800 mm

Frank is particularly skilled at manipulating the different stages of drying resin so that the sticky puddles of liquid pigment don't turn muddy or dissolve. Instead they streak, causing the traversing fine fingers or rivulets to interlock with or bleed into other malleable layers.

Auckland

 

Dale Frank
Devon is my favourite Luncheon meat

 

22 February 2012 - 17 March 2012

This Dale Frank show is of interest because of the way the Gow Langsford staff have hung seven of his varnish paintings in the main gallery. All are of the same height, and normally they are presented quite separately. This time there are six close together on one wall (but not touching) - and another round the corner, visible from the Lorne St front window. It seems to continue the line.

The presentation works really well. There is a vaguely suggested horizon so that the separate canvases adhere and become a whopper landscape where Salvador Dali (think ‘melting watches’) meets Jackson Pollock’s drips. The wide horizontal image is a linked row of writhing swirls of gushing marbled effects, feathery cilia and incredibly fine-lined wiggling loops that morph into clotted knots. A strange cohesion results even though there is no single dominant colour. Somehow the tumbling chromatic agitations mingle with the clearer, multi-directional, viscous trickles to create unity and generate a complex, oozy but highly suggestive, panorama.

Frank is particularly skilled at manipulating the different stages of drying resin so that the sticky puddles of liquid pigment don’t turn muddy or dissolve. Instead they streak, causing the traversing fine fingers or rivulets to interlock with or bleed into other malleable layers. The pools of poured on coloured and congealed treacle also dry at different speeds, often contracting to leave seemingly combed lines. They look like a form of drawn but subtracted cross-hatching but in fact are chemically induced.

If you enjoy looking into flickering fires and admire paint that’s liquid like eels, glossy, buckled and convulsive, there is plenty of detail here to mesmerise you and interpretatively engage with - especially when you stand back. Highly evocative in its suggestion of primal cosmic forces and psychedelia, and overtly sensual in its marbled intricacy, it is well worth a visit.

John Hurrell

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This Discussion has 6 comments.

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Andrew Paul Wood, 10:32 p.m. 7 March, 2012

Lovely. Is there perhaps a touch of Pat Hanly as well? I am also inclined to think of Mark Braunias and Robert McLeod, and a dash of Francis Bacon...

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John Hurrell, 9:52 a.m. 8 March, 2012

The paint/varnish is viscous and intricate - all poured, marbled and oozy. No brushmarks anywhere.

The interesting thing about Frank is he started (I think) as a performance artist in the early 80s who moved through his huge rippling-lined drawings into wildly innovative painting. It will be interesting to see if today's new university-trained performance artists stick at it and not move towards more saleable objects. If they get a tenured teaching job, maybe they can?

 In reply

Andrew Paul Wood, 8:10 p.m. 8 March, 2012

Either that, or they'll be making coffee and selling clothes during the day and doing Dr Sketchy's at night. Tenured teaching jobs for performance art are few and far between (fewer and farer in the current economy). If anything, I think we need them more than ever right now to put this absurd world into context.

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Owen Pratt, 9:07 a.m. 9 March, 2012

Was just reading about a man who heard music during long air flights (without the headphones) It was attributed to the variety and high volume of random sound. After a while the brain demands order out of chaos and for this man produced music for him. A bit like these paintings really.

 In reply

Andrew Paul Wood, 9:53 p.m. 11 March, 2012

I disagree - the sheer mechanics and ratios of the human body provide structure and form. And the gestural swoops appear to me quite deliberately judged, which isn't that hard to do if you're experienced enough.

Owen Pratt, 10:10 a.m. 12 March, 2012

Perhaps negated by the titling which is chaotic, first/second person, diaristic, alluding to landscape, et. which seems like an attempt to break down the artists own visual handwriting.
It seems that the artist is making his own Rorschach blots and interpreting as he goes, these meanings are further negated by the presentation as a mural. Nice meaty paint though.

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