Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Performance and spectacle are at the core of Dale Frank’s body of work. From his first performance piece in 1978, Frank has always been interested in the relationship between body and mind and how perception distorts and contradicts reality. Translated into his paintings, Frank develops the tradition of gestural abstraction of Jackson Pollock, Yves Klein and Morris Louis to create carnal images of intense colour.
Frank began using varnishes, chemicals and poisons on his paintings from 1986. The varnish works are a blend of chaos and design. With its long drying times, Frank would leave the varnished canvases exposed to collect dust and stick to mosquitoes and flies (not seen in this painting). On the other hand, the works are highly choreographed, with the viscosity of the liquid meticulously and scientifically planned along with the angles and timing of the artist tilting the canvas or applying the next layer. The glossy finish of the works carries forward the idea of performance, both in the gestures of the artist permanently encased in varnish, and in the movements of the viewer that can be seen reflected back.
In 2000, Frank made a series of monochromatic varnish paintings that Frank has said were named after “actors who achieved a coolness or sexual allure,” like Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Hartnett “or young actors who achieved star status in a brief period then ‘disappeared’ e.g. Leif Garrett and Shaun Cassidy”. (Dale Frank in So Far: The Art of Dale Frank, 2005-1980.) Other works had titles that were web addresses where real or fake naked photographs of celebrities could be found, and others still – like this painting – had absurd titles that nonetheless share a theme of male sexual allure. The liquid quality of the varnish paintings, and Frank’s tendency to use red and pink, are part of their bodily and overtly sexual nature.
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney