- Peter Frank
I am a maker of stuff. I have a baroque sensibility. I work with common easily accessible materials. I stretch the meaning of traditional painting to create hybrid objects. I am interested in creating sensuous and visually captivating objects that engage spectators on a purely visceral level.
In my older installation work, I worked with aluminum window screen wire as my primary material-it was very utilitarian but had wonderful ephemeral illusory qualities as well as being a translucent material that if bended and sewn in a certain manner could stand on its own without a more durable under structure. When creating this work, I wanted to make the viewer feel a sense of wonder and perplexity. For example “This looks like a chair, but there exists no structure that should allow it to stand—what relationship does this object have to the real world? Is it a ghost, an apparition, a fleeting moment?
In my more current work, once again, I am working with a manufactured commodity. The “Paint-By-Number” template represents some of the ordinary ways that middle class people in the 1950's filled their leisure time. This body of work originated when I bought several “Paint-By-Number” kits, read the instructions, followed them, and continued to purposefully do so over the course of several months. It was during this process that I teased myself back into working with color and on a two dimensional picture plane. Beginning with the template of the “Paint-by-Number” matrix demands that I reflect on where and when “art” starts to emerge when working with a formula. I am interested in the distinction between the “unique” artwork and one that is commercially produced. By working in this manner, I initially feel a sense of relief-just following the directions and seeing what materializes. It becomes a “sort-of” meditation---my mind can wander and other ideas, more personal ones, emerge, percolate, and take over. It is at this point that I take that necessary leap of faith--one where there is room for me to negotiate a visual landscape between abstraction and representation.
With regard to my public art projects, I remain interested in mass produced objects, the two dimensional picture (floor) plane, and images appropriated from “Paint-By-Number” templates. In addition I tackle questions as to how I can stay true to my more “self-evolved” studio practice yet expand it to include a more diverse audience. How can my personal art-making processes remain laced with nuances when the final product is viewed on a monumental scale? Where is that place where personal meaning intersects with public consciousness, and how do I as an artist creatively reconcile this dilemma?