Nicholas Frank presents Reality, whatever that is, a show about narrative, and his larger interest in biography. Frank will modify Western Exhibitions primary gallery with a wall that bifurcates the space, as he will use half of Gallery 1 and all of Gallery 2 to present two sets of narratives, one in the form of paintings and the other in pages of his lifelong Nicholas Frank Biography project.
The Nicholas Frank Biography has been expressed as a museum-style exhibition (Milwaukee, 1998) and individual book pages (ongoing) detailing the history and historical significance of the output of the artist “Nicholas Frank.” In all cases, the “author” goes unnamed, presumed by its third-person perspective to be other than Nicholas Frank. Book pages are presented singularly, in frames or hand-bound, generally without benefit of before-page and after-page or before-chapter and after-chapter context.
The paintings in this show focus on narrative formation, depicting a sentence that can be read forwards or backwards, or recombined into different meanings, much like any other group of paintings one might encounter. Formally, the paintings draw upon Frank’s fascination with monochromes, Lucio Fontana and a general interest in the failure of pure states. Taken together, these five paintings explore subject/audience agreement, meaning-flow, anticipation and expectations, and reproduction of intent and experience, along with color, plasticity and objectness.
Joe Hardesty uses text to describe what the viewer is experiencing – that is, he hand draws a series of sentences that depict an evocative scene. As such, his drawings inhabit a space somewhere between text, image and the mind’s eye. Seemingly simple, Hardesty’s drawings on paper address contradictory aspects of our cultural landscape. The themes and issues in his current body of work include, among other things, German landscape painting, animal husbandry, the disappearance of traditional agricultural practices in the face of corporate food production, neurological disorders, and Vikings. The drawings often include images that invoke trauma and elation. By focusing viewers’ attention through the use of text, the drawings work both as a concrete reality created on the page and as a changing series of interpretations as each viewer “reads” the text differently. For this show, Hardesty will produce several large-scale drawings using graphite, and colored pencil. Together, the drawings develop a loose narrative for the show as a whole, endeavoring to articulate his personal feelings about living in the 21st century. The story might involve horses.