Artist Natalie Frank in her studio.

 

NEW YORK - On the gallery front, painting as a medium often looks sickly or even worse, just ignored. But then along comes a painter who has command of the brush and suddenly the clouds part and it looks vital again. An artist who has that effect, and who is clearly going places, is Natalie Frank. Still in her early 30s, she has a show at Fredericks & Freiser Gallery from October 4 and running until November 3: “The Governed and the Governors.” It’s full of lush, painterly, ambitious pictures.

I visited her studio this spring and was wowed by the effect of having the big works all in one room. They are somewhere between figural and abstract, full of ominous scenes rendered with great sensitivity – she’s really great at depicting eyeballs, and she uses this talent to unnerving effect.

In the studio with Natalie Frank.


For some reason, Frank’s work reminds me of the late R.B. Kitaj, the terrific painter whom I got to interview back in the 1990s. Maybe it’s the influence of Francis Bacon I see in both, but also it’s the way she balances an enormous range of colors – so hard to pull off – without a stumble. Check out her work when you’re making the rounds in Chelsea.