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Frank Boyden: The Empathies

Laura Russo Gallery
Portland OR Nov 2-Dec 2, 2006

Frank Boyden - The Empathies #85
Frank Boyden, The Empathies #85 (2005), drypoint [Laura Russo Gallery, Portland OR, Nov 2-Dec 2]

Oregon artist Frank Boyden first earned a national reputation as a ceramicist and sculptor in the 1970s and early 80s. He returned to printmaking in 1984. This past summer, his prints and books were the focus of a retrospective at the Hallie Ford Museum in Salem, Oregon, custodian of the largest permanent collection of Boyden’s printworks. His work is also included in prominent collections at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, and both the Portland and Tacoma Art Museums.

Boyden’s prints are frequently characterized by darkness. Driven by his own anger at political and religious paradigms, as well as by his disgust with the corruption of war, his latest series, The Empathies, concentrates on unmasked portraits of humanity. The compelling suite of 96 drypoints, only 2 x 3 inches each, demonstrate an acute observation of variegated psychological personas. The tiny but haunting studies reach deep into the human psyche to depict suffering, anguish, desperation and sadness. They convey the dysphoric side of humanity with a presence reminiscent of German Expressionism or Goya’s Los Caprichos.

Frank Boyden - The Empathies #55

Frank Boyden, The Empathies #55 (2005), drypoint [Laura Russo Gallery, Portland OR, Nov 2-Dec 2]

Frank Boyden - The Empathies #90

Frank B
oyden, The Empathies #90 (2005), drypoint [Laura Russo Gallery, Portland OR, Nov 2-Dec 2]

Boyden wrote, “I proceeded to draw a plethora of beings that were horrendous and vile. All were characters from creation's ineptitudes, vagaries, vengeances, and sad jokes. Some portrayals are frail and desolate, questioning mortality, while others palliate the struggle of humankind.” The prints are documented in an 80-page catalogue accompanying the exhibition.

www.laurarusso.com

Allyn Cantor

 Tue, Nov 14, 2006