Picnics, Pools, and Parties: Summer Paintings
BY ZOEY FRANK
I’ve been working on a series of summer paintings for a number of years now, staged in the backyard, in the park, and at the pool. The paintings show families and friends packed closely together, interspersed with the bright colors of plastic inflatable toys and sun hats.
I’m interested in bringing the grandeur and gravitas of Renaissance and Baroque compositions to these mundane, suburban scenes of domestic life: a seventy-year old woman’s birthday party, a family picnic on the grass. At the same time, this focus on the mundane offers me an opportunity to play with the more formal aspects of the painting: the angles of repeating gestures, the arrangement of light and dark shapes, and the pathways of color. The colorful plastics become another compositional tool to move our attention across the painting.
I’ve become increasingly interested in paintings that reinforce the solidity of the surface, from early frescos to bas-relief sculptures to abstract expressionism. I’ve begun to break up my images with patterns and planes of abstract color to alternately expand and compress the sense of depth in the images, pulling the viewer again and again back to the surface plane. I’m interested in how different approaches to representation from realism to abstraction to sculpture can sit right next to each other and how they can inform each other as our eye moves from one to the next.
Now, in the midst of the pandemic, these images read very differently than when I began them. They remind us of an ease in being together that we no longer have access to. As I worked on these images in the studio over the last many months, I felt the solidity and reality of these scenes of togetherness slipping in and out of focus. ~ ZF
On View: “Zoey Frank: Summer Paintings” is on view May 27 through June 30, 2021 at SugarLift in New York City.
“I’m so pleased to invite you to my first solo exhibition in New York City next month,” said Zoey in a recent newsletter. “Sugarlift has a beautiful space in Chelsea where three of my very large summer paintings will be able to hang together along with other works including my first life-sized sculpture.”
In conjunction with the show, the first print catalogue of Zoey’s work is available, with a selection of 50 paintings and preparatory studies from the past six years. She will be signing the first 100 copies (preorder yours here).
Zoey Frank (b. 1987) is a Colorado-based painter who received her MFA in painting from Laguna College of Art and Design after studying for four years with Juliette Aristides at Gage Academy of Art. She has received three Elizabeth Greenshields grants, her work has been featured in publications such as Fine Art Connoisseur and American Art Collector, and she has exhibited in galleries across the United States, England, and the Netherlands.
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