Dale Frank's non-figurative works exemplify the conditions and basic elements of painting. He gives us seductive passages of luminous colour and accumulations and dispersals of density. These are not paintings created with a brush but by the controlled movement of poured liquid. His works explicitly encapsulate a temporal dimension as harnessings of moments of viscosity (varnish) over a more static and monochrome ground (acrylic paint).
Exhibition Dates: 19 March – 12 April 2003
Places acquire significance for us by being visited (both physically and in thought) and by their role as points defining intervals. They are beginnings and endings, outsets and destinations. They are places where things happen. Cars are the principal mode of travelling between. The scenery en route is defined visually in the most non-specific and abstract terms: monotony of colour and salient features of topography and land use. Our experience of it is governed by happenstance. We view it through moving car windows. From Golden Arches to all night Shells, the ever-repetitive ticking whir and hypnotic swirls of passing.
A painting is a very specific place. It is a concentrated ground of expression and signification that is presented to us. Given the heightened signifying potential of the space of a painting, abstract forms may, arbitrarily or not, stand for any other thing—person, place, time, narrative. Dale Frank's non-figurative works exemplify the conditions and basic elements of painting. He gives us seductive passages of luminous colour and accumulations and dispersals of density. These are not paintings created with a brush but by the controlled movement of poured liquid. His works explicitly encapsulate a temporal dimension as harnessings of moments of viscosity (varnish) over a more static and monochrome ground (acrylic paint). One of Frank's discoveries has been his signature varnish paintings. In these he manipulates the protective resinous layer that covers the paint, which has traditionally played a functional role in increasing the durability of the painting as an object. Frank transforms this formally non-expressive layer into the locus of primary interest and activity. In the current exhibition the varnish is richly coloured and active. With it Frank lets us view beautiful crystalline worlds which may be suggestive of places that have been either macroscopically diminished or microscopically enlarged in scale. And places glimpsed, places confronting the artist's view through the dulling lapse of driving time. Rest stops still vibrating from distance travelled. These are landscapes in the purest form. The mechanics of looking in the purest sense. There is no detachment of the viewer through the use of a vantage point. There is no domination over an horizon. The viewer, like the artist, is 'bailed up' by the moment of the scene. Frank shows us how to take pleasure and find solace in art, how painting in itself—in its literal, non-representational formations—may still be a verdant and God-kissed pastoral.
At an early age, Dale Frank achieved a significant reputation as a painter in Europe and the USA. During his career spanning more than two decades, he has been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Australia and overseas. In 1983, he 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 (curated by Helena Kontova). In 1984 he was included in the Aperto section of the Venice Biennale. Returning to Australia, in 1990 he was included in the 8th Biennale of Sydney (curated by Rene Block). A major solo retrospective of his work was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney in 2000. His paintings are held in every major public collection in Australia and in numerous private and corporate collections in Australia and overseas. The Bruce Highway runs between Cairns and Brisbane.