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Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Drawings by Natalie Frank
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For Tales of the Brothers Grimm, thirty-six celebrated and lesser-known of the unsanitised fairy tales collected by the illustrious brothers were carefully chosen by artist Natalie Frank, re-interpreted in seventy-five gouache and chalk pastel drawings, and cast in a Surrealist dreamscape. This will be the largest collection of Grimm's Fairy Tales ever illustrated by a fine artist. Frank's irreverent palette, sophisticated use of colour and inventive depiction of these dark, far from storybook narratives, capture the original stories with a contemporary and unflinching eye. Each of the tales opens with a hand-drawn title page, is framed by a unique border and small drawings punctuate each story, all in the tradition of classic fairy tale editions. The foremost Grimm scholar, Jack Zipes, introduces the book and contextualises these stories and drawings within a history of the Brothers Grimm, its illustrations and the tradition of the fairy tale. A complex and unique world of the imagination emerges from the pairing of these tales with Frank's drawings, assembled by the celebrated designer, Marian Bantjes. Additional texts include a conversation between the artist and director Julie Taymor, as well as essays by Feminist art historian Linda Nochlin and curator Claire Gilman. This book marks Frank's exhibitions of drawings based on the Brothers Grimm at The Drawing Center, New York, and Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, in 2015.
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Frank's illustration - included in the ravishing book Tales from the Brothers Grimm: Drawings by Natalie Frank but unfortunately omitted from the exhibition - shows us his gruesome treasury, a bazaar of dismembered limbs and human trophy heads arranged in a room decorated with pretty stripes. A blue face with smelly-fish eyes and a dumbly open mouth lingers in the memory.--Ariella Budick "Financial Times " The lurid palette-rich in pinks, greens, blues, and yellows-creates the phantasmagoric atmosphere: part haunted house, part fun house. Animals and humans are frequently embedded within the same distorted figures. Nudity is common. Eyes, arms, and other body parts float in midair. Skeletons lounge next to the living.--Katya Kazakina "Bloomberg News " In these images, everything seems to be happening at once, as if a swirl of disparate actions...were sweeping one along without allowing time to question things. As in the tales themselves, the accent is more on the wonder at strange and possibly incomprehensible events than on revulsion or regret over their often dire consequences. No one's identity is securely established, no contradiction disallowed in Frank's magical realism.--Barry Schwabsky "Artforum " Frank takes the stories apart to uncover their most sinister scenes, rendering them with surreal, nightmarish flourishes. Digging into their subtexts, Frank unmasks these tales as the twisted, misogynistic fantasies they always were.--Paul Laster "Time Out New York " The numinous, jarring color and attention to gleefully monstrous details is masterful. Certainly no other artist of her generation has done as much with pastel. Drawing is central to her work, and with that comes the possibility of inventiveness.--John Yau "Hyperallergic " Tales of the Brothers Grimm, Drawings by Natalie Frank is an impressive tome with marvelous attention to detail. Frank's work is represented in private collections and museums in the United States. This book has all of the makings and quality to become a collector's item for people who enjoy books that are beautifully printed and filled with commanding illustrations.--Richard Rivera "New York Journal of Books " It was always a toss-up as to which was more alarming--the stories themselves or the beautiful, terrifying drawings--but I'm so excited to have this book on my shelves for a long time to come.--Hilary Lawlor "The Improbable " Frank's illustration -- included in the ravishing book Tales from the Brothers Grimm: Drawings by Natalie Frank but unfortunately omitted from the exhibition -- shows us his gruesome treasury, a bazaar of dismembered limbs and human trophy heads arranged in a room decorated with pretty stripes. A blue face with smelly-fish eyes and a dumbly open mouth lingers in the memory.--Ariella Budick "Financial Times " Frank's paintings always tend to have a narrative feel to them anyway-the experience akin to reading some kind of meticulous and elegant horror comic book, with the panels stacked on top of each other, Bacon's popes meet Guernica-but here every page dances with color and emotion.--Dan Duray "ARTnews " When looking at the stunningly impressionistic paintings of Natalie Frank, you wouldn't immediately guess that you're staring into the world of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Yet that is indeed the subject matter of her latest gallery show, aptly titled The Brothers Grimm, though not without the wildly evocative and dark touch of Frank's lurid imagination.--Jake Boyer "Milk Made " Represented by Chicago dealer Rhona Hoffman and L.A. dealers ACME, the artist has set herself apart with traditional painting techniques that she fuses with modern abstract styles and a vibrant palette. Her work often explores contemporary discourse on the body, feminism, sexuality, the grotesque, and the domestic sphere. For the Grimms, her characters are raw, at times rough, and always a study in opposites: soft and sensual flesh, with piercing realistic eyes, caught up in furious line work, contorted bodies, and violent tragedy. But like the stories themselves, all the images still contain a bit of humor.--Alanna Martinez "Observer " The lurid palette--rich in pinks, greens, blues, and yellows--creates the phantasmagoric atmosphere: part haunted house, part fun house. Animals and humans are frequently embedded within the same distorted figures. Nudity is common. Eyes, arms, and other body parts float in midair. Skeletons lounge next to the living.--Katya Kazakina "Bloomberg News "

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