Colour, beauty and awe are all words that are synonymous with Dale Frank’s paintings. In recent years Frank has shifted from his renowned monochromatic canvases, to a practice of merging numerous vivid colours together on one surface. These colours collide and separate from one another with dramatic effect, taking on the appearance of cut-marble or reptile-skin patternings.
The works from this exhibition are alive with hot, lurid colours and have a presence that cannot be ignored. Frank’s painting methodology and its results are marvelled at by most that view them. “Frank notes the effects of what he describes as ‘young’ and ‘old’ colours:
Two colours that were poured at the same time flowing into each other on the surface while they are ‘young’ (one hour old) will have one particular reaction, swirling and creating whirlpools and mixes. Some colours retain their integrity and combine readily with the emerging pattern, while others lose their integrity, creating graduations into a third colour.” (Dale Frank, Art and Australia, Vol. 42 2004, p.214.)
Frank’s painting process is not one that is quick or unconscious. Canvases are titled at different angles every fifteen minutes, allowing the paint to move and leave its mark until the varnish is set and the desired image is achieved. This can take anywhere from six to twenty-four hours of continuous attention to one painting.
Frank’s beguiling sense of wit is expressed in painting titles such as: His dealer was a bandy legged fellow, riding too many freebies was the bitter myth often told. Sometime later he discovered the real reason for his dealer's actual deformity. It did not set him at ease for future sales of his paintings.
In the past Frank’s titles have often referenced landscapes, narratives or journeys, however on this occasion Frank addresses the business of art – the artists, their dealers and their galleries. Frank’s comic approach in these references presents a satiric look at the insecurities and pretensions that exist in these scenarios.
Frank is undeniably one of Australia’s leading and most influential contemporary painters today. He has exhibited extensively both in Australia and overseas since the early 1980’s, including a survey exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in 2000. His work is held in numerous private collections internationally and most major public collections in Australia.