6.09.2010

Motherlode: Mary Frank at Skoto

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Overview here
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Woman in the Present, 2008, oil and encaustic on wood, 14 x 18 inches; image from the gallery website
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Mary Frank is represented by D.C. Moore Gallery in Midtown, but this solo exhibition, As Time Goes By: Encaustics, Works on Paper, Photographs, 1960-2010, is at Skoto Gallery in Chelsea.

Frank is an artist who draws from the wellspring nature—figures, plant life and animals—rendering them fluidly in an earthy palette in a range of materials (ink, graphic, encaustic, clay) and techniques (painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, sculpture). I am not intimately familiar with Frank’s work, but I have seen enough over the years to know that she has developed a personal mythology and symbology: “To comfort the dead, awaken the living, to know the migration seasons of birds and fish, to know the human immigrations of the past and right now.”

Who is this lion-headed woman? Do these walls close one out or offer safety and enclosure? And what of these floating and falling figures? I see solitude, but not loneliness. I see a personal world of transcendence. In more physical terms, I see a life that has been immersed in artmaking for 50 years.

The keystone of the exhibition is an installation in the corner of the gallery, with paintings and cutout figures and a piece of Manhattan schist set onto the floor, against an orange-painted wall. Here a Frank painting becomes not so much sculpture as a dimensional painting. You can’t enter it physically, but you can travel through and around it with your eyes. And that chunk of bedrock is both a physical presence and a metaphorical anchor, the perfect counterpoint to the passing of time.

I would have shown you more installation images, but the gallery does not allow photography (except for the few I was able to take surreptitiously). You can see the show for yourself, though. It runs through June 19.

View from the entry
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Below, and below that, images of the two works just to the right of the corner
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Possibility, 2007, oil and encaustic on board, 22 x 19 inches
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Below, Hill with Willow, 2008, oil and encaustic on board, 20 x 26 inches; both images from the gallery website


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Installation, no title provided, with detail of the handwritten wall text below

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1 comment:

Richard Bottwin said...

This blog was beautifully written and really captures the poetry of the exhibition