Dale Frank: Growers and Showers

Dale Frank: Growers and Showers, Installation view, National Art School, 2024 - photo by Peter MorganThe National Art School has unveiled Dale Frank: Growers and Showers – a major solo exhibition by one of Australia’s foremost contemporary artists, Dale Frank, presented across two floors of the NAS Gallery until 1 June 2024.

This significant survey exhibition presents 45 large-scale paintings, sculptures and installations created by the internationally renowned Australian artist over the past decade, including nine never-before-exhibited works.

“We are thrilled to present this major solo exhibition by Dale Frank at the NAS Gallery,” said Steven Alderton, CEO, National Art School Artist. “I am particularly excited to present a dynamic painting show that pushes boundaries and reveals a constant theme of experimentation.”

“It is quite incredible to track the evolution of Dale’s work through this show, it is a real eye opener for artists, students and art lovers as they see the transformation of ‘abstraction’ from the edge of Dale’s practice. Dale’s exhibition is an inspiration.”

Renowned for his vivid, glossy, abstract paintings, and highly experimental approach to artmaking, Growers and Showers delves into Frank’s enduring commitment to experimentation and ongoing investigation into the potentiality of painting, alongside his wide-ranging use of materials and multidisciplinary approach.

Recent paintings in his viscous signature poured resin style are presented alongside works that play with unexpected surfaces including shattered glass, mirror, foam, human hair, CDs and foil ducting – examples of the artist’s interest in an expanded painting practice.

Highlight works on display include a selection from his 2023 series revealing a powerful evolution of Frank’s honed technique, using a new medium – translucent dye – in concert with various resins and processes.

This new development sees brilliant colours ranging from neon greens, yellow and pinks to deep reds and blues, moving between scattered constellations of colour, to large pools, pours, and spills.

Showcasing the breadth of Frank’s practice and his decades-long commitment to painting and its formal and conceptual possibilities, the exhibition takes the viewer on a journey through his exploration of the ‘edge’ of painting.

Explosive oxygenated forms of compression foam burst from a perspex surface, whilst eruptive reconfigurations of readymade objects such as human hair wigs and clown masks take the place of paint altogether, opening onto an almost sculptural, 3-dimensional space.

Large-scale installation works include a 22-metre wall vinyl depicting a stretched and distorted painting with three paintings installed over the top. Coloured lights, a soundtrack and incense alter the atmosphere of the space, creating an immersive viewer experience that tests the boundaries of abstraction.

Speaking to the performative nature of Frank’s vast body of work, a durational performance titled A Grand Canyon, which Frank calls a ‘behavioural sculpture’, launched the exhibition on opening night.

The artist’s first solo institutional exhibition in over 20 years, Dale Frank: Growers and Showers confirms Frank’s ongoing interest in abstraction and in testing the boundaries and limits of art, with a collection of vivid and viscous works, radiating both power and playfulness.

“A good painting has another life, a bad painting also has another life. They both look, stare, the artist in the eye,” says Dale Frank. “Both now woke Krays confronting the course of Culture, for both the artist and viewer.”

“Soon some will become intoxicated by the boarding pass of acceptance, others airport window shopping academically bitter, broke and barren, with too much carry on luggage.”

“With their connoisseurship of doubt, a million ideas follow to fill their futures, all realising it must be an assault, a question on the cultural, and while some march in the streets disguised under different flags, others alone, orchestrate and manipulate new devices in dark cellars.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a 60-page artist-designed catalogue, including essays by Wes Hill, Associate Professor in Art History, and Visual Culture at Southern Cross University, and Elspeth Pitt, Senior Curator Australian Art, National Gallery of Australia.

Dale Frank: Growers and Showers
NAS Gallery – National Art School, Corner of Forbes and Burton Streets, Darlinghurst (Sydney)
Exhibition continues to 1 June 2024
Free entry

For more information, visit: www.nas.edu.au for details.

Image: Dale Frank: Growers and Showers, Installation view, National Art School, 2024 – photo by Peter Morgan