Jacqueline Frankel: let the work of art breathe

Jacqueline Frankel, Bust. (209). Watercolor, mixed technique on paper. 32 × 42 inches. (Courtesy of Jacqueline Frankel).

Georgia O’Keeffe once said that with colors and shapes she could say things she couldn’t with words. The ambition to convey the incorporeal through the material properties of painting eventually became the problem of abstract art – the desire to “abolish form” made texture, line, color. and with the brushstroke of painting its subject. But the effort to communicate the internal processes of human experiences has remained. To the extent that it inhabits a level beyond content, abstract art is akin to music.

Jacqueline Frankel, Without sound. (2021). Mixed media on paper, 43 × 32 inches. (Courtesy: Jacqueline Frankel).

One might want to compare Jacqueline Frankel’s work to jazz – the unifying characteristic is the intuitive and improvised process and its corollary self-referentiality. An encounter with his work is an exercise in feeling, a whirlwind of course; to immerse yourself in it is to enter this whirlwind, first on the level of the image by following the detours of the brushstroke or the pencil line, then, almost meditatively, on the emotional level. Space forces map the complex sensitive landscape; the line art exerts a centripetal force, pulling the viewer inward.

Jacqueline Frankel, Sparkle in the Eye. (2019). Mixed media watercolor on paper, 22.5 × 31 inches. (Photo: John Sluder).

Multiplicity is a hallmark of his line art – the starting point is indistinguishable, one strain leads to another, the lines swell and twirl, twisting in a biomorphic vortex – an emotional expression that is undefined or , moreover, never finished.

Jacqueline Frankel, left to right — with a neutral ensemble. (2021). Mixed media on paper, 42 × 32 inches. (Courtesy of Jacqueline Frankel).

This multiplicity is most evident in Frankel’s “Recent Highlights” mixed media on paper series. A skein of superimposed strands of bright color that refuse to be squeezed into a distinctive shape affects a feeling of effervescence. It appears to be suspended above the plane of the image – its flatness abolished. A sculptural presence, a thing in itself. The work of art becomes an object giving the viewer a feeling of shared space. Paradoxically, this “object” state brings an aura of vulnerability that accompanies visceral bodily experiences. Perhaps this is how the human body reveals itself in a work of abstract art.

Jacqueline Frankel, Study in Purple. (2017). Watercolor on paper, 24 × 18 inches. (Photo: John Sluder).

The artist says that she does not aim to represent but to discover. Indeed, like love, it is said that art invites discovery of oneself. Jacqueline Frankel sees her practice informed by the desire to establish a connection between the image and the inner emotional realm, to capture an emotional tissue of a human body in time and space – if we imagine space. and time imbued with emotion. “All painter paints himself “, as the maxim of the Renaissance used to say – you bet, except that the” me “is transferable. Once there is a viewer, it transforms into a reflection of the viewer’s mind – the ever-changing interaction between the viewer and the artwork. And that’s one of the reasons the artwork is never finished.

But that is also Frankel’s intention – she says that she finds “the most delight in the sense of the unfinished work”, its compositional and chromatic openness which prevents the forms from revealing themselves, leaving, as she does. says, “Work breathes. Indeed, the artist’s line drawing has a rhythmic quality, as if it reproduces an invisible respiratory rate.

Jacqueline Frankel, Passage. (2012). Watercolor on paper, 30 x 22.5 inches. (Courtesy of: Jacqueline Frankel).

The Frankel process is initiated with control and deliberation. Yet the line art indicates an absence of choice – a space for artistic creation Sanctum sanctorum, where accident and surprise are possible, the outcome indeterminate.

Her work is also part of a reflection on the environment of the place she lives in today. Born and raised near Basel, Switzerland, Jacqueline Frankel moved to New York in 1993 after studying painting at the Basel School of Art and Design. New York’s cultural, emotional and intellectual dynamism became a part of his artistic practice throughout his life. Frankel – an artist, mother, wife and educator – the agony of prioritizing them in one sentence is testament to the delicate balance that exists throughout our lives and careers – divides her practice into two main periods: before and after the birth of her son, the time between the two mainly spent raising him and working as an artistic educator.

Jacqueline Frankel, Close the loop. (2000). Mixed media on canvas, 58 x 64 inches. (Courtesy of Jacqueline Frankel).

The artist’s production includes a wide variety of mixed media including acrylic, oils, screen printing, ink, graphite, markers, pastels and watercolor – an ongoing search for structures, patterns and hidden colors. Recently, it is watercolor that she prefers, for its sensuality and transparency that fascinates her.

Jacqueline Frankel, in three parts. (2021). Mixed media on paper, 42 × 32 inches. (Courtesy of Jacqueline Frankel).

The experience of looking at Frankel’s art highlights what seems irreconcilable: the mastery of his brush and his line art, the drawing, the emotional depth and pictorial density of his painting with the absence of a solo art exhibition. Her explanation is simple: she didn’t feel obligated to show her work. “I see all my work as an ongoing project, an interconnected whole; the most recent works respond to the previous ones. So I couldn’t separate the works to put them together for an exhibition, ”Frankel told me during our recent conversation. And now, with an exhibition going on (stay tuned for more info), not much has changed in the artist’s practice, as it was not the desire for recognition and belonging to the world of art which animated it all these years but the real belonging, reached by this inescapable and daily need to engage, to create and to discover.

Marianne Rosen

Marianna Rosen is the editor-in-chief of Fine Art Globe. Born in Moscow, she is a writer, television producer and journalist whose work has been published in The Observer and Elle. She holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and is working towards a doctorate.

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