Ryan Frank: WOODSHOP
April 27 - May 19, 2019
Opening reception: Saturday, April 27, 5 – 8 PM
Open studio: Saturday, May 4, 12 – 5 PM
Running Dialogue in the South Bronx: Saturday, May 11, 12 PM
Closing reception, featuring work by Chris Bruffee: Saturday, May 18, 5 – 8 PM
6BASE is pleased to present Ryan Frank: WOODSHOP, on view April 27 - May 19, 2019. The exhibition will feature new works by Ryan Frank, a New York-based artist working with wood and photography. A selection of large-scale sculptures made over the last five years will also be included in the exhibition.
Over the past decade, Frank’s practice has consisted primarily of photo-based sculptures and site-specific installations, wherein he combines his own photographs within found or manufactured objects, including windows, doors, staircases, mailboxes, and overhead boxes. Taken throughout his travels across the United States and abroad, the artist’s photographs often capture lush, natural landscapes. The juxtaposition of the idyllic images with the otherwise familiar, geometric structures, “invites the viewers to rethink their relationship to the world around them; rather than escape to a far-flung locale, it asks us to see our own space anew.”
As the title suggests, WOODSHOP, finds Frank using wood as his primary medium to create objects that facilitate movement. Since 2015, he has sourced his material from Rosenzweig Lumber & Plywood Corp, which has been located in the South Bronx for over a century. On view will be new works mounted to the wall and four recent large-scale freestanding sculptures, including Balance Beam (South Elliott Place, Brooklyn, NY), 2014; Ballet Barre (Carmel Valley, CA), 2014; Easel (Damnatio Memoriae), 2017; and Barricade (Robbers’ Roost, Wyoming), 2018. Organized and displayed throughout the space in the order they were made, this is the first time the four works have been presented together.
Each sculpture is based on a utilitarian object with a direct relationship to the human scale. The artist’s photographs from specific locations are either mounted directly on the wood or embedded within the structure to create a light-box. For Easel (Damnatio Memoriae), he superimposes a photograph of a third century bronze statue of Julia Aquilia Severa, wife of Roman Emperor Elagabalus on the frame of a wooden painting easel. Frank describes, “The statue [in the photograph] has been defaced, supposedly due to damnatio memoriae or ‘condemnation of memory’ –– a common practice in Ancient Rome in which the names and statues of condemned individuals were erased and destroyed. I was drawn to the easel due to its minimal form, and the fact that it maps onto the shape and scale of the human body. I saw a connection between this particular statue and the structure and purpose of an easel –– both are support mechanisms for something deemed to be important. Statues have long since been central to how history is told, understood and remembered and their placement and preservation continues to be a relevant source of cultural and political conflict.”1
Barricade (Robbers’ Roost, Wyoming) recontextualized a full-size police barricade. Rendered in wood, Frank has used the surface of the object as a support for his photographs of the rough, mountainous terrain of Robbers’ Roost, Wyoming, that he took while he was an artist-in-residence at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in 2018. The horizon line of the landscape in the photographs, representing an alternative environment, parallels the horizontal wood barrier of the structure. Balance Beam (South Elliott Place, Brooklyn, NY) and Ballet Barre (Carmel Valley, CA) are large-scale light boxes based on standardized designs used to support and facilitate body movement. The illuminated photographs suggest a double-meaning of the simplified form of the gymnastic balance beam installed on the floor; the images projected upwards depict discarded trash, while the images set within the hollow structure taken from the perspective of the ground on South Elliott Place in Brooklyn invite the viewer to peer down inside the balance beam.
As this is the last 6BASE presentation in the space in the Bronx, there will be public programming every Saturday over the course of the month. Programs will include a new site-specific window installation presented by Frank during the South Bronx Open Studios and Frieze New York on Randall's Island on May 4; a group run, and installation as part of the artist's ongoing Running Dialogue project on May 11; and a special presentation of new work made by Chris Bruffee during the final weekend on May 18-19.
Born in California, Ryan Frank currently lives and works in New York. He received his B.F.A. from New York University. Most recently, his work was the subject of a solo exhibitions held at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York (2018); Lilac Preservation Project, New York (2017); The Invisible Dog Art Center, Brooklyn (2016 & 2013); and the Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, Connecticut (2014). Public site-specific window installations on long-term view include Unoccupied on West 10th Street, organized by Art-in-Buildings, New York; Sterling Windows, organized by Sterling Place Block Association in Brooklyn (both 2018); and Bergen Street Windows, organized by the Invisible Dog Art Center, Brooklyn (2017). He has participated in group exhibitions, including those held at Wassaic Project, New York (2017); The Hollows, Brooklyn (2016); The Invisible Dog Art Center, Brooklyn (2016, 2015, and 2014), among others. Recent curatorial project include I Like the Sound of That, Artspace, New Haven, Connecticut (2016); A Very Anxious Feeling, Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, Connecticut (2015); and A Wandering Sukkah, Invisible Dog Art Center, Brooklyn (traveled to Queens Museum, New York; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; and throughout the city). He has attended artist residencies at the Brooklyn Studios for Dance, New York; Jentel Foundation, Banner, Wyoming (both 2018); Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, Saratoga, Wyoming (2017); SIM International Artist Residency, Reykjavik, Iceland (2015); among others.
1 Artist’s statement, 2014.