The opening reception for artist Dana Frankfort’s site-specific painting “THINK” on view in the first-floor lobby of the BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) was held Nov. 19.
The large-scale, commissioned painting measuring 14-by-9 feet hangs prominently above the main stairway of the BRC and encompasses two stories. This colorful and engaging piece transforms and animates this expansive alcove, said University Art Director Molly Hubbard.
“Frankfort’s works are not at all static,” Hubbard said. “On the contrary they are so full of energy and movement that her canvases don’t necessarily contain the paint. When I first experienced her work in a gallery setting, I felt like she would be the perfect artist to commission for a project of this scale.”
Hubbard said Frankfort was chosen for this project because her work incorporates a unique and energetic tension between color and subject matter that translates on a grand scale while also providing the viewer with an alluring surface to observe up close. In her recent practice, Frankfort has carefully selected English words that she integrates with bold colors. “In this case, the artist selected ‘think,’ a word that would engage all those who contribute to the atmosphere and culture of the BRC — a center for scientific research and collaboration between Rice University and the surrounding Texas Medical Center,” Hubbard said.
“The artist spent time with the scientists and researchers at the BRC to gain a better understanding of their areas of focus and to get a sense of the diversity of their areas of focus,” Hubbard said. “She then developed a list of words for the BRC stakeholders and the Rice Art Committee to consider for the painting commission.”
Frankfort created the piece while working in residence on campus intermittently over the past year. Because “THINK” is Frankfort’s largest work to date, she had to fashion substantial paintbrushes that were appropriate for the scale of her canvas to achieve the outcome she envisioned. As a result, Frankfort’s layer upon layer of thick acrylic paint is visually accessible — especially as viewers stand in the landing of the BRC stairwell to examine the painting up close. While in residence, Frankfort experimented with several color schemes. She made more than 20 smaller scale studies, which informed her ultimate selection of a golden color palette.
A native of Houston, Frankfort has exhibited her work widely throughout the United States since 1999. Frankfort’s first solo exhibition, “What’s So Funny,” took place in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2005. She currently resides in Boston, where she is a professor of art at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts. She received her M.F.A. degree from Yale School of Art in 1997 and was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006.
“THINK” was commissioned by the Rice Public Art Program. For more information, visit http://publicart.rice.edu/.