Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Frenn Opens Friday

The Fraser Gallery of Bethesda is proud to host the third solo exhibition of acclaimed Lebanese-American painter Chawky Frenn, in conjunction with the publication of a 174 page retrospective book of the artist’s works titled Chawky Frenn: Art for Life’s Sake.

Having proved several times to be one of the the most controversial figurative artists in the United States, Frenn was born in Zahle, Lebanon and migrated to the United States in the 1980s. He is a currently a professor on the Art faculty at George Mason University in Virginia.

Art critic Donald Kuspit, one of the most visible art voices of the 21st century, has written that Frenn "constructs a spiritual space in which the contemporary public can feel emotionally at home, however troubling the emotions his imagery evoke in them."

The New York Times wrote that "Chawky Frenn is a painter who has nailed down the figurative mode, and this accomplishment gives him the license to convey anything he wants, including the grand theme: the elusive meaning of human existence."

The Washington Post wrote: "From a classical nude contemplating a human skull to his latest series of still lifes of slaughtered animal carcasses, Frenn is an artist's artist (as opposed to a critic's artist)."
Nothing Personal by Chawky Frenn
For this upcoming solo show, which opens with a reception for Frenn this coming Friday, February 10, 2006 from 6-9PM, the artist has created a whole new series of paintings depicting his disturbing impressions of the current historical state of affairs of the world, as well as his continuing exploration of classical nudes.

Frenn's works are used to controversy. In 2001, his Boston gallery decided to cancel a Frenn solo show at the last minute as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks.

In 2004, his exhibition at Dartmouth caused an uproar on campus. Frenn, who was exhibiting at the same time at Damien Hirst, managed to outshock Hirst.

I will be clear to admit that this is not an easy artist to exhibit in the DC area. Every single one of his paintings that we've sold over the years has sold to New York or European collectors, althought I am sure that were his work to be exposed to local gutsy collectors (and curators), Frenn would be appreciated (on a local scale) to the same extent that he's being appreciated on a national and international scale.

The exhibition runs through March, 7 2006 and there’s an artist’s talk by Frenn, discussing his new work, on Saturday, February 25, 2006 starting at 1 PM.