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November 20 to December 19, 2009

Reality, whatever that is
images | press:

New City | Chicago Art Magazine | ARTWRIT

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.

Nicholas Frank’s primary activities are art making, including visual art, stage-, recording-, radio- and television-based performance and writing; and multi-disciplinary art exhibition coordination, including curation, and facilitation of dialogue through symposia, lectures and publications. Secondary activities are commentating, essaying, critiquing and lecturing about art and Midwestern culture. Frank is currently the chief curator at the Institute of Visual Arts (Inova), in the Peck School of Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a founding member of the Milwaukee International, which organizes miniature art fairs around the world. Frank has organized, jointly and solo, exhibitions at the Swiss Institute in New York City, the Green Gallery, Walker’s Point Center for the Arts and the Jody Monroe Gallery (all in Milwaukee) and The Pond in Chicago. He owned and directed the Hermetic Gallery in Milwaukee from 1994 to 2001. Frank has written for Sculpture, Art Papers, InterReview, Bridge, New Art Examiner and Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. His work has been included in group shows at Small A Projects and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise-Passerby in New York City, Locust Projects in Miami, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Diverseworks in Houston, and the Soap Factory in Minneapolis. Solo shows include the Green Gallery (2008), Suitable (2004), Chicago Project Room (1996) and a forthcoming exhibition at The Poor Farm in northern Wisconsin (2010). This is Frank’s second solo show with Western Exhibitions. He will concurrently have a piece in “Picturing the Studio” in the Sullivan Galleries at the School of the Art Institute, curated by Michelle Grabner and Annika Marie, opening December 12. He lives and works in Milwaukee.