Zoey Frank: Recent Paintings
Sugarlift is pleased to present Zoey Frank: Recent Paintings, the artist’s second solo show with the gallery. An opening celebration will take place at Sugarlift on the evening of October 27, 2022, from 6 pm to 8 pm, and the show will be open through January 7, 2023.
Boundless in her command of narrative and perspective, Zoey Frank creates paintings which defy classification, imploring the viewer to consider them outside of the art historical tradition which they so aptly reference. Elegantly executed, each piece arrests the viewer in time, unfurling in rivulets, through continued engagement with the artwork surface. Drawing from a deep well of knowledge and with quotations ranging from the Old Masters, to the Post-Impressionists, and all the way through to the Abstract Expressionists, Frank’s layered technique and refusal of pictorial limitations is unparalleled.
Porch Musicians, the centerpiece of the exhibition, is a monumental diptych measuring 74 x 132 inches. As is typical of Frank’s work, it is only in the prolonged exploration of the canvas that one can begin to absorb its most subversive aspects. There are differences in the left and right sides which are not immediately perceptible - children, and a violinist, appear on the left, while on the right a blue sky lends a more naturalistic bent. Upon further reflection, it becomes clear that the perspective has shifted, the mood and the level of abstraction interweaving, slightly to the left and slightly less in focus. In the amount of time it takes the viewer to recognize these differences, both sequential and instantaneous, they have immersed themselves in a painting that they perhaps meant only to glimpse. And herein lies Frank’s unique skill as a storyteller. The suspension of motion - made necessary by the medium of paint - leaves open interpretation and involvement by the viewer in the story. An abstracted blur carries the eyeline across the canvas and back again, unveiling new information with every pass.
Trained academically in an atelier setting, in the intervening years Frank has turned to color as another way to break the boundaries of formality. In 5her three-piece Breakfast Table series, the artist reduces her palette, deftly applying a vaguely monochromatic lens as she captures different scenes at the same table. Green, with orange highlights, as a couple sits down for breakfast. Pink, this time with green highlights, as they read the paper together. Orange, now with pops of blue, the viewer encounters the woman alone. Once again, it is in the exploration of these color and subject matter shifts, the bouncing of the eye around and between each work, that one can begin to comprehend the depth of influences from which the artist is drawing.
“The complexity of compositional structure comes through, along with the exquisite visual meanderings and slippage, the conflating of abstraction and figuration…[Frank] is mining and exploring the everyday - the kitchen, the dishwasher, the take-out deli sandwich, - and, not simply invested in depiction for its own sake, Frank permutates the motif - experimenting to reveal spatial and aesthetic possibilities.” - Jordan Wolfson
Frank’s practice is multilayered, sweeping; and her subject matter is at times deceptively simple: a window, or a radiator, each carrying more meaning than first meets the eye. In a way, these less complex compositions deny the apparent requirement in painting of having a subject at all. Rather, by paring down her thesis, Frank makes a subject of the artwork itself, the moment and moments in time which she has chosen to depict.
About Zoey Frank:
Zoey Frank (b. 1987) is a Colorado-based painter who received her MFA in painting from Laguna College of Art and Design after studying for four years with Juliette Aristides at Gage Academy of Art. She has received numerous honors and awards, including three Elizabeth Greenshields grants and the Artist’s Magazine All Media Competition Grand Prize. Her work has been featured in publications such as Fine Art Connoisseur and American Art Collector, and she has exhibited in galleries across the United States, England, and the Netherlands.