The Magic Universe of Natalie Frank
I'm so glad to have collaborated again with the immensely talented Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck of Ann Street Studio who captured the images in this entry. I first saw one of Natalie Frank’s pieces a couple of years ago at the Armory Art Fair and completely fell for her. Her incredible use of color, the magic depiction of the human figure, the originality of adding an element that extended beyond the physical limitations of the wood board itself and of course, the emotional power of the entire work, turned me into a fan rather quickly.
After having met Natalie in person, I liked her work even more. She is young, fun and interesting and has lived in Oslo, London and Paris. Visiting her light-filled studio in Buschwick, Brooklyn offered me a deeper perspective into her stunning pieces and her brilliant mind. In a contemporary art world where as of late, the lack of real talent and hard working hands seems to be blindly celebrated, it is always so refreshing to see an emerging artist like Natalie, working hard and creating extraordinary pieces that require time, precision, dexterity and soul. He work combines figurative and abstract, beautiful and scary, unsettling and delightful all at once.
We talked about Natalie’s upbringing in Texas and the eccentric characters that surrounded her life growing up and how much those experiences have shaped her life and her art. An avid reader, Natalie has gotten so much inspiration from novels and fantastic stories of magical realism that not surprisingly she is preparing a show where she has been drawing on paper her own interpretation of some of the Grimm Brothers’ fairytales, à la Frank, that is. And what that means is that the 75 drawings reflect “unsanitized” versions of the stories that with the passage of time were turned into cute fables for kids, but weren't originally intended for that type of audience. The show will open in the Spring of 2015 at the Drawing Center in New York and then it will travel.
Lately, Natalie has been working with panels that represent the idea of having an object within an object. For example, the massive piece that ACME Gallery showed at The Armory show this year and which I had an opportunity to see before it left for the fair, had several round “doors” with knobs that opened and revealed different layers, with other colors and designs. Another large piece in her studio, shows a caricaturesque depiction of a naked man who became a marionette, a puppet of circumstances whose arms and legs are moved at will by whoever is interacting with the piece.
This coming Fall, Natalie will have a solo show at Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago where a new body of work will be exhibited. I’m excited and curious to see what amazing experience she will create for us to enjoy.