Focus on Natalie Frank

Natalie Frank, The Maiden Without Hands, 2014, gouache and chalk pastel

Natalie Frank is a New York-based artist. She created a series of drawings inspired by the Tales of the Brothers Grimm that were exhibited at The Drawing Center in 2015 and were included in a new edition of Tales published alongside the exhibition. Five of these drawings, which correspond with the story “The Maiden Without Hands,” will be exhibited in Why Draw? 500 Years of Drawings and Watercolors at Bowdoin College, which opens on May 3. Frank’s Grimm Fairy Tale drawings are the first drawings that she created as a distinct series. In the catalogue for Why Draw?, she explains that “[t]hese stories and drawings reflect my interests in storytelling, my focus on women, their bodies, and the ways in which their narratives intersect with cruelty, sexuality, and perversion.” Frank doesn’t shy away from the violence of the original Grimm stories and finds value in the fact that the stories were originally orally passed down by women. Her drawings display an interest in the human figure and feature strong, fairy-tale like distortions. While fully realized works on paper, Frank’s drawings convey a sense of spontaneity. They relate to the stories, but don’t specifically illustrate them.

 

Frank will deliver the keynote address at the May 2 opening of Why Draw? Frank’s drawings are some of the most recent works in the exhibition. Frank sees her work in dialogue with the art of the past. Her focus on the figure and representation is a striking example of the creative possibilities of the medium of pastel and gouache.

 

William Schweller, class of 2017

thumb:Chinese, "Jar (Guan)," 3000-2500 BC, painted ceramic. Gift of George and Elaine Keyes in honor of Barry Mills. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.