Beatrice Chassepot, be-Art Magazine: Frank J. Stockton

“BIG HOUSE” by Frank Stockton

By Beatrice Chassepot
February 10, 2018

A Cubist Narrative

Any Museum interested by that outstanding installation???? That gigantic piece deserves it.

Frank Stockton has achieved there another impressive body of work. We all remember the powerful chaos he shown in a previous exhibition at Samuel Freeman, Los Angeles. It was an exhibition of large paintings with the background color of the pacific ocean surrounding the Bermudas Islands with powerful unleashed red lines. Some sort of a joyful chaos.

At DENK, the eye is first knocked out because of the size of the installation of those 15 paintings made of a 80ish panels, plus a chair and real plants. No perspective there. No times, no story to refer to for the viewer who could be lost in translation.

Actually Stockton embarks his viewers in a subtle deconstruction of the narrative. The paintings of the figurative are most of the time more intentional than really painted -strong gesture with just sketches or painted lines- and mostly showing parts of a face, of a tree, parts of a story.

However we notice that if the five biggest paintings contain their own story, they are key for the rest of the deconstruction. They are the origin and the goal. The three big houses are intentionally put at the bottom of the installation, like the roots of a tree, the foundation of a house, showing this is where it’s all began. The big painting on the right is called by Stockton “Minotaur’s Big Day“. The Minotaur was that hybrid “part man part bull” hidden in a labyrinth and eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus. We can translate easily the Minotaur could be the painter expressing here his strength and fears. On the left the other big paint is called by Stockton “terrible infant”. That paint works at the opposite of the rest of the installation as it shows layers over layers, like a superposition of stories.

The rest of the installation  could be either fragments of dreams, suggestions of ideas, fragments of intimate souvenirs, reminiscence of European paintings. The painter continues to give some keys by dividing them in groups and by giving them titles (see below). Those parts play a key role in the deconstruction of the narrative, like cubism was with the face of a woman for e.g with Picasso and Braque. The narrative is dismantled piece by piece and shown in its essence under the form of a fragment.

Considering the whole installation we could add another layer to that lecture with the yellow color in the form of an arch that we can see from left to right. In architecture “an arch  is a curved structure that spans an elevated space and may or may not support the weight above it. As the forces in the arch are carried to the ground, the arch will push outward at the base, called thrust. As the rise, or height of the arch decreases, the outward thrust increases. In order to maintain arch action and prevent the arch from collapsing, the thrust needs to be restrained, either with internal ties or external bracing, such as abutments.” and the key stone of the arch would be that wonderful face of a woman.

Whatever lecture and interpretation, Frank Stockton with that installation opens a breach. Definitely an artist to follow and a do not miss exhibition