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b. 1959, Australia

Dale Frank Biography

Controversial and uncompromising in his penchant for offbeat and confrontational gestures, Australian contemporary artist Dale Frank has divided critics and public alike over the past three decades. His practice is wide-ranging—from documentary films to eccentric performances—but today Frank is best known for his large-scale biomorphic abstract paintings and reflective resin paintings that challenge traditional notions of the medium.

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Beginning to attract attention while still in his teens in the late 1970s, Frank spent ten years in Europe and the United States, returning to Australia in 1988. The beginning of his career was dominated by performance-based work; a notable early example took place in the late 1970s in Italy, where gallery-goers were presented with the then-teenage artist's legs and leather shoes dangling through a hatch in the ceiling.

Later in his career, Frank began exploring sculpture and installation and, eventually, painting. His current painting method involves pouring and brushing on several layers of thick varnish and colour pigments or clear resin, which sometimes embed colour glitter and studio detritus. These distinctive paintings do not depict anything identifiable, but rather are an exploration of different materials, movements and colours. Occasionally, he also includes readymade and industrial elements, such as construction foam, automotive paint, brightly coloured artificial hair (Dale dug another hole [2017]) or silver foil air-ducts (She was a collector of the best Art even though she relied on Emirates points to maintain her lifestyle [2018]). Given their unusual materials, Frank's paintings are not static objects; the materials can settle, react and produce structural changes even once they have left his studio. In recent years, the artist has replaced his usual canvas surface with Perspex, its reflective nature adding another layer to the work.

Provocative titles are often important to Frank's paintings, for example: Roslyn is the difference between Qantas gold and platinum or He always bought funeral insurance for all his boyfriends (both 2018). Sometimes the titles themselves are lengthy, self-contained narratives, with no apparent connection to the works to which they are attached. These lengthy interludes disrupt attempts to read specific meanings into the paintings themselves.

Interactive performance and installation remains an important part of Frank's career. In 1995, in lieu of showing paintings, the artist staged a disco—including fog machines and a mirror ball—at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney, and titled the exhibition Dale, I'm only dancing. For his 2018 installation Ghost Story at the same gallery, Frank covered the walls and ceilings in reflective Mylar fabric lit with LED lights and presented petri dishes containing his personal bacteria, which grew into a dangerous state in agar.

Dale Frank was the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, in 2002. He was selected for the Biennale of Sydney in 1990 and 2010, and in 1984 he was included in the Aperto section of the Venice Biennale. His works are held in major private and public collections worldwide, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Kunsthaus, Zürich; and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York. In 2005, Frank was awarded the Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize from Bendigo Art Gallery.

Michael Crooks | Ocula | 2018

Dale Frank Featured Artworks

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Packet carbonara pasta sauce by Dale Frank contemporary artwork
Dale FrankPacket carbonara pasta sauce, 2020powder pigments in resin, epoxyglass, on Perspex
150 x 100 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery Enquire about this work
Filling his hollow hours with platitudes by Dale Frank contemporary artwork
Dale FrankFilling his hollow hours with platitudes, 2016Varnishes on Perspex
160 x 120 x 5 cm
Pearl Lam Galleries Enquire about this work
The deafening volume of his insatiable inabilities by Dale Frank contemporary artwork
Dale FrankThe deafening volume of his insatiable inabilities, 2016Varnishes on Perspex
160 x 120 x 5 cm
Pearl Lam Galleries Enquire about this work
In French everyone was told they were having herring for dinner by Dale Frank contemporary artwork
Dale FrankIn French everyone was told they were having herring for dinner, 2016Colour resin in liquid glass on Perspex
200 x 150 x 6 cm
Pearl Lam Galleries Enquire about this work
Chinese landscape - sore succulents by Dale Frank contemporary artwork
Dale FrankChinese landscape - sore succulents, 2015Paint stripper acid on anodized perspex
200 x 200 cm
Pearl Lam Galleries Enquire about this work

Dale Frank Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Leonardo Drew, Dale Frank, Antony Micallef, Accidents [Part II] at Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong
Open Now
31 January–15 July 2020 Leonardo Drew, Dale Frank, Antony Micallef Accidents [Part II] Pearl Lam GalleriesH Queen's, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Dale Frank, Shaun taught piano at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Closed
17 April–16 May 2020 Dale Frank Shaun taught piano Roslyn Oxley9 GalleryOnline Only
Contemporary art exhibition, Dale Frank, Dale Frank at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Closed
13 June–6 July 2019 Dale Frank Roslyn Oxley9 GallerySydney

Dale Frank Represented By

Pearl Lam Galleries contemporary art gallery in Pedder Street, Hong Kong Pearl Lam Galleries Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai

Dale Frank In Ocula Magazine

Dale Frank at Art Los Angeles Contemporary Ocula Insight Dale Frank at Art Los Angeles Contemporary

Dale Frank is one of Australia's most celebrated and critically acclaimed artists with a career spanning more than 30 years. He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including a retrospective at the MCA in Sydney in 2000. His work is held in the collections of every major public collection in Australia as well as numerous...

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Dale Frank In Related Press

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The elusive fictions of Dale Frank Related Press The elusive fictions of Dale Frank 19 June 2019, Art Guide Australia

During a career spanning three decades, Dale Frank has worked with multiple mediums including installation, film, sculpture and painting. Most recently he has been spending a considerable amount of time experimenting with painting.

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Dale Frank at Pearl Lam Galleries Hong Kong Related Press Dale Frank at Pearl Lam Galleries Hong Kong 8 March 2017, ArtAsiaPacific

Entering Dale Frank’s solo exhibition at Pearl Lam Galleries in Hong Kong was comparable to stepping into a parallel universe where shapes are distorted and luminescent colors reign supreme. It was an alienating yet simultaneously engaging experience that clearly exemplified Frank’s own philosophy toward distancing himself from his works. Once...

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Material world: Dale Frank latest explorations in paint, resin and fire foam Related Press Material world: Dale Frank latest explorations in paint, resin and fire foam 27 January 2017, Wallpaper*

January is usually a relatively quiet month for art in Hong Kong but not so at Pearl Lam’s eponymous Pedder Street gallery where the local gallerist is showing a solo exhibition of 16 works by artist Dale Frank. One of the Australia’s most successful international artists, Frank is renowned for his manipulation of wildly different materials...

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Hotel Windsor to become a contemporary art hub for Spring 1883 Related Press Hotel Windsor to become a contemporary art hub for Spring 1883 14 August 2016, The Weekly Review

A sculpture in the bathtub, a horse on the couch and a disco in the loo are just some of the ways artworks have been exhibited at what is emerging as Melbourne’s most exciting art fair. The Hotel Windsor is, once again, about to be transformed by SPRING 1883, a high-end contemporary art show to be held as part of Melbourne’s Art...

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