Lisa A. Frank




Courtesy of the artist and Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Larchmont, NY
Among the stillness of the blossoms, a butterfly wing gently rustles. Lisa A. Frank evinces a high degree of craft, but her work is far from traditional. Working in contemporary video art, Frank merges technology with artistic inspiration drawn from the dense ornamentalism of Britain’s 19th-century Aesthetic Movement. The artist has built a vast archive of reference images, or a kind of a visual diary, to create fantastical still-life scenes of nature. Frank often works with over 100 color-coded layers in Adobe Photoshop, digitally “sewing” images and designs together in an extremely compulsive and time-consuming process.

In Frank’s videos, her glowing, heightened images of nature are animated with barely perceivable transformations. The casual passerby might catch a glimpse of pollen drifting down, a hummingbird darting past, a fruit slowly ripening, or small planets rotating amongst ornamental cabbages. Such enhanced, even surreal, scenes of nature are not new. Frank points out that “in 17th- and 18th-century Dutch still-life painting, the elements in each composition originated as life studies done throughout the year: tulips from early spring, hollyhocks in high summer, grapes in the autumn. These were then combined into amiscellany that could never exist in reality.”

The title of this piece L. columbinus, dovelike refers to the columbine, a member of the buttercup family of flowers. The word columbine means “like a dove,” and the columbine flowers, when massed, were thought to look like a flock of doves.