(Portland, Maine) Billy Gerard Frank, filmmaker and multi-media artist, addresses issues of migration, race, and global politics as they relate to gender, minority status, and post-colonial subjects. Eulogies, on view July 8 through August 13 at Moss Galleries in Portland, is an autobiographical de-construction and re-positioning of Frank's collective memories and experiences.
Eulogies will be Billy Gerard Frank’s first solo exhibition in Maine. Frank lives in New York, but is no stranger to the state. He studied under the American abstract expressionist and realist painter John Hultberg, who spent many summers on Monhegan Island. He was also John's studio assistant for five years where he was introduced to artists like Robert Rauschenberg.
Eulogies is comprised of a film installation entitled 2nd Eulogy: Mind The Gap (40 mins) set centrally on the island country of Grenada, accompanied by multi-media collage canvases, mix-media photographs, and sculpture. The evocative vignettes, forms, and possibilities of narratives ruminate on themes of exile, migration, colonialism, and sexuality.
“The film 2nd Eulogy: Mind The Gap spurns personal tales of loss, longings, memories, and the phantasmagoria by interweaving fiction and non-fiction to conjure an abstract story of interconnected lives,” said Billy Gerard Frank. “The central tale narrates the lives of Nelson, a fisherman and father; his gay son James who is coming of age in a verdantly charged landscape; Antoinette, Nelson’s wife who embodies the island’s colonial past and Mother Country; and their maid, Josephine. Apart from telling the story of my father’s life, I wanted to explore personal experiences of growing up as a gay teenager in Grenada: the ridicule; the sexual molestation; the trauma. In many ways James’s story mirrors my own.”
Frank’s father was a boat-builder and seafarer from the Island of Petite Martinique, a sister isle of Grenada in the West Indies. After his father’s death three years ago, Frank found a suitcase containing maps, letters, stamps, and various mementos that constituted the archive of his life. The letters formed a pattern starting with his grandfather that marked his family’s ancestry of global seafarers and mirrored his own early escape from home. This great divide was not just by water but the emotional gulf that is the spine of these personal and collective narratives of loss, grief, displacement, and longing—the narratives of diasporas and exile experience. These memories became the instigator and compass of the Eulogies body of work.
The accompanying collages of Eulogies serve as an extension of the film installation. Images from his father’s suitcase and other sources touch on motifs from the film to re-contextualize the personal, historical, and psychological impact that Grenada and his father have played in his life. Many of the images are hand sewn into the canvas as acts of remembrances to his father who was a skilled and sought-after boat builder.
About Billy Gerard Frank
Billy Gerard Frank, born in Grenada, West Indies, is an Artist, Filmmaker, Production Designer, Educator, and founder of Nova Frontier Film Festival & Lab, which showcases and incubates the works of filmmakers and artists from and about the Global African Diaspora, The Middle East, Latin America. He studied art at The Art Students League of New York and The National Academy of Fine Arts and studied under the American abstract expressionist and realist painter John Hultberg, and was Hultberg's studio assistant for five years where he was introduced to artists like Robert Rauschenberg. He continued his studies in filmmaking and media arts at The New School for Social Research.
Frank is a Lecturer in Directing and Design in the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale and has lectured at universities like NYU, the School of Visual Arts, and York University. He is also one of the artists in the collective representing Grenada in the 59th La Biennale di Venezia (2022) and also represented the island at 58th La Biennale di Venezia (2019). His mix-media artworks and films have been exhibited and screened in group and solo shows in museums and institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum (2020), Yale University, National Academy Museum of Fine Arts and Design, and international film festivals like the Berlinale and Sundance, among others. Billy Gerard Frank lives between Grenada, Brooklyn NY, and Paris.
Find a link to download hi-res images HERE.
Image caption: Billy Gerard Frank, 2nd Eulogy Mind The Gap, Memory of Love and Ruins (2019).jpg
About Moss Galleries:
In 2004, with the dream of being at the forefront of recognizing Maine’s role in American Art, Elizabeth Moss created Moss Galleries in Falmouth, Maine. Over the course of 17 years, Elizabeth and her team have established a gallery of national and international repute, recently being named one of the top 500 Galleries in North America by ArtInfo. The gallery represents a plethora of artists who create in a vast range of artistic styles ranging from abstract to traditional seascapes. Moss Galleries strives to highlight Maine artists and their role in the American art scene at large, as well as the importance Maine plays in each of their work. Moss Galleries has locations in Portland and Falmouth, Maine.
For more information, visit Moss Galleries at www.elizabethmossgalleries.com/
100 Fore Street
Portland, ME 04101
Falmouth, ME 04105
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