John Hurrell – 29 August, 2010
Frank's varnish application and surface seem a little like liquid glass, a painter's version of Dale Chihuly the glass sculptor, but much more decisively composed - less piecemeal - demonstrating an awareness of canvas edge and gradual build up of chroma; without getting sickly.
11 August - 5 September 2010
The six colourful Dale Frank resin paintings now showing in the Gow Langsford gallery are typical of his poured varnish works, but this time carefully kept apart and not so compressed on the walls, as in some of his earlier shows.
Very considered areas of underlying white painted linen peek through glossy translucent layers of carefully placed colour. Spindly rivulets of wobbly hue merge and swirl with other sticky layers or cross over drier ones. Some extremely fine and delicate areas have criss-crossing striations, loosely patterned flecks and marbled arabesques.
Frank pours his gooey coloured varnish with precise control, one minute making zigzagging Pollock-like dribbles, the next billowing Morris Louisy diaphanous sails. Some images from a distance seem as if they should be vertical not horizontal, but when close up you start to see a complex mingling of layers that then seems balanced and oddly inevitable. You get pulled into these sensuous, streaky records of studio ‘performances’ - an area of art he explored in the early eighties before becoming a painter.
With these works you are always aware of how Frank is drawing with these viscous fluids, thinking graphically and making work that is quite different from say, Leigh Martin, who uses yachting resin to make atmospheric fields of hovering colour, who is more holistic and who avoids delineated edges.
Frank’s varnish application and surface seem a little like liquid glass, a painter’s version of Dale Chihuly the glass sculptor, but much more decisively composed - less piecemeal - demonstrating an awareness of canvas edge and gradual build up of chroma; without getting sickly. Each work has a meandering, sentence long, title - a method Frank seems to have adapted from Mike Parr in the mid-eighties - really an ornate labelling device for each painting. These are more digressive distractions, playful and indulgent pieces of tomfoolery with words than helpful aids to looking.
While many of his works have an appealing lightness and theatrical drama, a strident but airy sinuous dynamic that draws you close, the best painting in this show, My lips are sealed Danish Silver consumed in minutes, surprisingly is greyish (it jumps out from the white wall) made from thin ‘crème anglaise’ layers cascading over dark underpainting. Typically its images are chock full of association - from sugary desserts and lickable sweets to turbulent evening clouds. Other paintings evoke flower parts, stratified landforms, thin sumptuous fabrics and flickering flame. Mesmerising forms conducive to reverie.
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