For more than thirty years Dale Frank has experimented with materials. Oil paint, hubcaps, enamel, graphite, fibreglass and disco mirror balls are just some of the elements that have appeared in his work. For the last decade, varnish has monopolized his attention. The maturity of this obsession is now palpable. It is evident in the delicate marbling, the broad bands of sweeping colour, the mounds of hardened varnish, and, perhaps most importantly, in the ease of transition between such forms. Like a marriage, Frank's relationship with the medium has deepened and developed over the years. We can sense the history, the questions, the struggles and the arguments. The continual exchange of energy and the oscillation between artistic control and submission to substance.
In a way, it's the same with looking. As viewers, we experience a continual tension between control and submission. We can manipulate what we see to conform to our pre-existing knowledge of physical reality or we can release control and fall into the medium's consciousness. Curiously, the more you liberate your eyes from the strictures of "reality", the more you learn about yourself. Devoid of logical form, the shiny surfaces morph into mirrors of our psychological interiors – private emotional landscapes and remembered scenes. What you see, it could be said, is what you are.
Frank is notoriously quiet when it comes to talking about his work. He rarely elaborates on "meaning". If questioned, the answers are often as enigmatic as the schizophrenic titles that accompany the paintings. Indeed, one suspects that Frank may derive a certain pleasure from keeping his audience at arm's length – perpetually on the cusp of understanding. Perhaps that is the message: to look within. The real subject matter being ourselves.