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Mary Frank: What Color Courage?

What Color Courage?

Living color; rooting embedded 
rising up yet 
gravity seeking 
refuged unknowingly 
Clustered species questing 
Trembling scalding and sacrificial 
I/we witness to this, our world now 

- Mary Frank

Mary Frank: What Color Courage? - November 17, 2022 – December 22, 2022 - Viewing Room - DC Moore Gallery Viewing Room

Some of Us, 2020
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
32 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches

On November 17, continuing through December 22, DC Moore Gallery will present What Color Courage?, an exhibition of new and historic work by Mary Frank (b. 1933), featuring mixed media paintings, painted stones, sculptures, along with several groups of works on paper from 1990-2022. 

Mary Frank: What Color Courage? - November 17, 2022 – December 22, 2022 - Viewing Room - DC Moore Gallery Viewing Room

The Sea Around Us, 2022
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
36 x 48 inches

Mary Frank’s new paintings contain layered elements that recall the artist’s engagement with other mediums, incorporating photographs of her own early sculptures, painted stones, and prints collaged onto their surfaces. This movement back and forth between two and three dimensional surfaces creates a narrative connecting the work, spinning together a sort of cosmos bound by the repetition and transformation of these images. 

Mary Frank: What Color Courage? - November 17, 2022 – December 22, 2022 - Viewing Room - DC Moore Gallery Viewing Room

Only When, 2022
Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel
36 x 30 inches

Mythical human/animal hybrids and silhouetted figures are placed in stark landscapes dramatized by swirling elemental color, fiery crimsons and deep blues. Mary’s use of mythological imagery imbues the work with a sense of timelessness, however, the raw urgency of expression makes it clear that the work is primarily concerned with what it means to be alive right now. Mary explains that for her, to work now in any form– as an artist or activist– one cannot ignore the world as it currently is in all its complexity.   

Slide-Show

Slide-Show Thumbnails
Chimera, 1984
Papier-maché
34 x 60 x 24 inches

Chimera, 1984
Papier-maché
34 x 60 x 24 inches

Inquire
Trajectories, 1988-89
Papier-maché
38 1/2 x 53 x 35 inches

Trajectories, 1988-89
Papier-maché
38 1/2 x 53 x 35 inches

Inquire
Chimera, 1984
Papier-maché
34 x 60 x 24 inches

Chimera, 1984
Papier-maché
34 x 60 x 24 inches

Trajectories, 1988-89
Papier-maché
38 1/2 x 53 x 35 inches

Trajectories, 1988-89
Papier-maché
38 1/2 x 53 x 35 inches

The exhibition includes two papier-maché sculptures from the 1980s, Chimera (1984), and Trajectories (1988-89). Like her recent paintings, these works relate outwardly to primal, universal themes and inwardly to the microcosm of Mary Frank’s work.

For Chimera, she used discarded monoprints as the material for the papier-maché. The chimera, a lion-antelope-serpent hybrid from ancient Greek mythology, is at once an image of brutality and of tenderness, mutable and never-ending.  

Mary Frank: What Color Courage? - November 17, 2022 – December 22, 2022 - Viewing Room - DC Moore Gallery Viewing Room

Leap, 2021
Oil, acrylic, and stone on panel
18 x 24 x 2 1/2 inches

As Mary describes, her work is a visceral response to the act of bearing witness to the world in a time of crisis. Her iconography–– tempests, fire, flood–– evoke the reality of frequent and escalating natural disasters, and their impact on human and animal lives. In that spirit, the artist would like to dedicate this show to all the people working to save the planet. 

Mary Frank: What Color Courage? - November 17, 2022 – December 22, 2022 - Viewing Room - DC Moore Gallery Viewing Room

Installation view of painted stones and ceramics, What Color Courage?, DC Moore Gallery, 2022.

Mary Frank was born in England in 1933 and came to New York in 1940, fleeing the bombings of London during World War II. While still in high school, she studied modern dance with Martha Graham and José Limon. In 1950, she studied drawing with Max Beckmann and later studied life-drawing with Hans Hofmann. Mary first came to prominence as a sculptor in the 1950s, working in wood and clay. 

The artist has been the subject of numerous solo museum and gallery exhibitions, including the 2022 retrospective exhibition, Mary Frank: The Observing Heart, at the Samuel Dorsky Museum in New Paltz, NY, accompanied by a catalogue with essay by curator David Hornung, and Mary Frank: Finding My Way Home, which originated at the Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC, in 2014 and traveled to the Butler Institute in Youngstown, OH, in 2015. Work by Mary Frank was included in the Whitney Museum’s 2020 exhibition, Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950 – 2019, and the Brooklyn Museum’s 2020 exhibition, Out of Place: A Feminist Look at the Collection.

Mary Frank: What Color Courage? - November 17, 2022 – December 22, 2022 - Viewing Room - DC Moore Gallery Viewing Room

Por Que?, 2021
Acrylic and collage on Bluestone

11 1/2 x 21 3/4 inches

Eakins Press Foundation has published two collaborations between Mary Frank and the environmental activist and author Terry Tempest Williams, the 2022 catalogue What My Body Knows and the 2020 catalogue A Burning Testament. Illustrations by Mary Frank were projected during Falling Out of Time, a song cycle composed by Osvaldo Golijov, which premiered in New York in 2022. In 2017, a solo exhibition at DC Moore Gallery coincided with the publication of the monograph, Pilgrimage: Photographs by Mary Frank, by the Eakins Press Foundation with texts by the poet and critic John Yau and Terry Tempest Williams. In 2014, the documentary film, Visions of Mary Frank, was produced and released by filmmaker John Cohen.

Mary Frank’s work is in many public collections, including, The Art Institute of Chicago, IL; The Brooklyn Museum, NY; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; The Fogg Art Museum, MA; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; The Jewish Museum, NY; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; The Morgan Library and Museum, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; the Museum of Modern Art, NY; The National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; Storm King Art Center, NY; The Whitney Museum, NY; and The Yale University Art Gallery, CT.

Mary Frank lives and works in New York City and Bearsville, NY.

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Thumb-Show

Thumb-Show Thumbnails
Witness, 2021. Acrylic and oil on board, 33 x 40 inches

Witness, 2021
Acrylic and oil on board
33 x 40 inches

Inquire
Continuation Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel 12 x 48 1/2 inches

Continuation
Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel
12 x 48 1/2 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, The Sea Around Us, 2022. Oil, acrylic, and collage on board, 36 x 48 inches

The Sea Around Us, 2022
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
36 x 48 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, Cusp, 2021. Oil, acrylic, and collage on board, 40 1/4 x 32 inches

Cusp, 2021
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
40 1/4 x 32 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, And Then And, 2021. Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel, 32 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches

And Then And, 2021
Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel
32 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, Por Que?, 2021. Acrylic and collage on Bluestone, 11 1/2 x 21 3/4 inches

Por Que?, 2021
Acrylic and collage on Bluestone
11 1/2 x 21 3/4 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, In Between, 2022. Oil, acrylic, and collage on board, 24 x 30 inches

In Between, 2022
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
24 x 30 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, Leap, 2021. Oil, acrylic, and stone on panel, 18 x 24 x 2 1/2 inches

Leap, 2021
Oil, acrylic, and stone on panel
18 x 24 x 2 1/2 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, Nasturtium, 2022. Oil, acrylic, and collage on board, 24 x 36 inches

Nasturtium, 2022
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
24 x 36 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, Only When, 2022. Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel, 36 x 30 inches

Only When, 2022
Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel
36 x 30 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, As It's Ever Been, 2018-2022. Oil, acrylic, and collage on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

As It's Ever Been, 2018-2022
Oil, acrylic, and collage on canvas
36 x 48 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, Some of Us, 2020. Oil, acrylic, and collage on board, 32 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches

Some of Us, 2020
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
32 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, ¿Or Was It Like This? II, 2018-2019. Oil, acrylic, graphite, and stone on board, 48 3/4 x 72 3/4 x 2 inches

¿Or Was It Like This? II, 2018-2019
Oil, acrylic, graphite, and stone on board
48 3/4 x 72 3/4 x 2 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, The Sea - The Swimmer. Oil, acrylic, collage, and stones on board, 35 1/2 x 49 inches

The Sea - The Swimmer
Oil, acrylic, collage, and stones on board
35 1/2 x 49 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, Coming Through, 2022. Oil and acrylic on panel, 48 x 28 inches

Coming Through, 2022
Oil and acrylic on panel
48 x 28 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, Yes, 2021. Oil, acrylic, collage, and stone on board, 30 x 36 inches

Yes, 2021
Oil, acrylic, collage, and stone on board
30 x 36 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, Esperance, 2021. Oil, acrylic, and collage on board, 24 x 44 inches

Esperance, 2021
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
24 x 44 inches

Inquire
Mary Frank, Seventh Step, 2022. Oil, acrylic, and stone on board, 33 1/4 x 41 inches

Seventh Step, 2022
Oil, acrylic, and stone on board
33 1/4 x 41 inches

Inquire
Witness, 2021. Acrylic and oil on board, 33 x 40 inches

Witness, 2021
Acrylic and oil on board
33 x 40 inches

Continuation Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel 12 x 48 1/2 inches

Continuation
Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel
12 x 48 1/2 inches

Mary Frank, The Sea Around Us, 2022. Oil, acrylic, and collage on board, 36 x 48 inches

The Sea Around Us, 2022
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
36 x 48 inches

Mary Frank, Cusp, 2021. Oil, acrylic, and collage on board, 40 1/4 x 32 inches

Cusp, 2021
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
40 1/4 x 32 inches

Mary Frank, And Then And, 2021. Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel, 32 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches

And Then And, 2021
Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel
32 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches

Mary Frank, Por Que?, 2021. Acrylic and collage on Bluestone, 11 1/2 x 21 3/4 inches

Por Que?, 2021
Acrylic and collage on Bluestone
11 1/2 x 21 3/4 inches

Mary Frank, In Between, 2022. Oil, acrylic, and collage on board, 24 x 30 inches

In Between, 2022
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
24 x 30 inches

Mary Frank, Leap, 2021. Oil, acrylic, and stone on panel, 18 x 24 x 2 1/2 inches

Leap, 2021
Oil, acrylic, and stone on panel
18 x 24 x 2 1/2 inches

Mary Frank, Nasturtium, 2022. Oil, acrylic, and collage on board, 24 x 36 inches

Nasturtium, 2022
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
24 x 36 inches

Mary Frank, Only When, 2022. Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel, 36 x 30 inches

Only When, 2022
Oil, acrylic, and collage on panel
36 x 30 inches

Mary Frank, As It's Ever Been, 2018-2022. Oil, acrylic, and collage on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

As It's Ever Been, 2018-2022
Oil, acrylic, and collage on canvas
36 x 48 inches

Mary Frank, Some of Us, 2020. Oil, acrylic, and collage on board, 32 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches

Some of Us, 2020
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
32 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches

Mary Frank, ¿Or Was It Like This? II, 2018-2019. Oil, acrylic, graphite, and stone on board, 48 3/4 x 72 3/4 x 2 inches

¿Or Was It Like This? II, 2018-2019
Oil, acrylic, graphite, and stone on board
48 3/4 x 72 3/4 x 2 inches

Mary Frank, The Sea - The Swimmer. Oil, acrylic, collage, and stones on board, 35 1/2 x 49 inches

The Sea - The Swimmer
Oil, acrylic, collage, and stones on board
35 1/2 x 49 inches

Mary Frank, Coming Through, 2022. Oil and acrylic on panel, 48 x 28 inches

Coming Through, 2022
Oil and acrylic on panel
48 x 28 inches

Mary Frank, Yes, 2021. Oil, acrylic, collage, and stone on board, 30 x 36 inches

Yes, 2021
Oil, acrylic, collage, and stone on board
30 x 36 inches

Mary Frank, Esperance, 2021. Oil, acrylic, and collage on board, 24 x 44 inches

Esperance, 2021
Oil, acrylic, and collage on board
24 x 44 inches

Mary Frank, Seventh Step, 2022. Oil, acrylic, and stone on board, 33 1/4 x 41 inches

Seventh Step, 2022
Oil, acrylic, and stone on board
33 1/4 x 41 inches