Sydney

Dale Frank

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

There was a smell of burnt straw. Standing unsteadily on an artificial floor which shifted beneath their tread, viewers watched as the artist sat and cleaned a rifle. On another occasion he wandered among his audience in a silent, darkened room, whipping a 9-foot willow branch through the air. Dale Frank’s performances were abstract, enigmatic, not always fully predetermined. Above all, they were designed to provoke tension. Since audiences could seldom understand all of what was happening, Frank’s events blended communication with misunderstanding, transmission with an in-built sense of loss. Gradually they became occasions in which the artist told himself a story about something private almost to the point of secrecy. But by that time he had also become a painter.

The fundamental gesture in Frank’s art is the movement of the long, close, curved striations that converge or separate

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