Sunday, February 12, 2006

Chawky Frenn Opening

The professor opened his third solo exhibition with us to packed crowds this last Friday who came to see Frenn's latest. Below is the main gallery wall just before the opening:

Chawky Frenn show at Fraser Gallery
Frenn is not an easy artist to sell because his work is so visceral in nature, and without an ounce of irony. In fact, in the three solo exhibitions that he has had with us, every single painting that has sold, has been acquired by either collectors from Europe or from New York. We've yet to find the Washington, DC collector with the courage to hang work so loaded with political or social commentary.

Frenn show looking towards the front
And Frenn, and his difficult work, is a perfect example of the many different parts that go into running an independent fine arts gallery with a focus and cultural dialogue that is serious and committed to developing both presence and substance.

Frenn addressing the visitors
He certainly packs the gallery with visitors, and it is obvious that his students adore him as a teacher, and the critical press has been all over him in the last few years, but it takes a special collector to hang work that is presented by a master painter who revels in delivering difficult subjects and harsh topic after harsh topic.

Opening crowd for Frenn

The New York Times once 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."
Painting by Frenn

The Washington Post wrote that his work "is most effective, however, not when it's taking rather obvious swipes at American imperialism... but when it's making subtler hints about xenophobia, homophobia, racism, sexism and other tools of oppression."

Frenn's Beautiful and Sad
The show runs through March 8, 2006.


For a long time it looked like it wasn't going to stick, but it kept falling and falling and last night it looked like this:
snow at night
And this morning is pretty deep out there; this is the view from my second floor window and looking out towards the front of the house:
looking out to the front

And now a couple of things for sure:

- Althought the Soviet Socialist Republic of Montgomery County is the highest taxed county in the United States of America, and property taxes went up 69% last year, and Kommissar Duncan's appetite for more taxes continues to be legendary, my street will probably never be cleaned. I can only recall one time that it was actually cleaned, and then it was by the third or fourth day.

- One reason for that may be because at some point today, one of my neighbors will attempt to leave the cul-de-sac where we all live, and get his or her car stuck in the slight uphill, forever blocking any exodus for the rest of us, or any entry to any snow-cleaning truck that may actually get lost and wander into our street to clean it. This has happened every single year that I have lived here. I haven't been outside yet, but I bet that there's a stalled, stuck car out there already.