What the Frank!

The artist with one
of his first works

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Frank Plant is a Barcelona based American sculptor. He studied sculpture at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After finishing his B.A. in fine arts in 1993 he moved to Amsterdam, Holland and during this period he began to develop his drawings in steel. These are simple and direct studies of the forms and compositions of everyday objects and situations. In 1999 he moved to Barcelona, Spain where he continues to live.

“My work is about physical and social observations. I think of things in terms of compositions whether that be an object, a line of text or a social situation. It’s important to me that the work be open and accessible. I look equally for harmony and discordance and find them similarly revealing and fascinating. I’ve been imbued with a sense of social awareness and hence choose to deal with these issues, as I see them, sometimes in my work. Finding and examining the subtle manners of communication of and between humans for me is all about exposing the balance and symmetry or lack thereof in our everyday existence.”

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Workshop Barcelona 2012
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Welded steel has always been the principal medium for Plant’s work, whether in his two dimensional pieces such as his fingerprints series or his earlier three dimensional kinetic metal sculptures, that incorporate found objects. In 1999 Plant moved to Barcelona and began to diversify the materials he uses in his sculpture.

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Frank has his studio in the neighborhood of Hostafrancs in Barcelona.

The space is a platform for his creative work but has also become a space for weary souls from near and far to come and rest their feet and pop open an Estrella and reflect on the finer things in life. Once a year the studio is cleaned up and for a night it turns into a wonderful dining room for a Franksgiving feast. A tradition started deep in the last century and carried on to this day. The studio is also sometimes used for dancing and BBQing.

Take a look at
various Franksgiving dinners »

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An observation about Frank and his work from a friend and client.

  • What do I find in Frank Plant’s works? Essentially, post-modernity: Concept, message, medium, peculiar expression, the transcendental. He starts in the here and now, carefully observing matter, people, and interaction. His messages are subtle, insightful, profound, gentle and caring; like an honest historian, they point at different and often fresh perspectives without patronizing or claiming moral high ground. His medium, steel, ideally resembles the starting proposition, everyday objects and situations: Steel has been around for millennia and so are the fundamental questions he touches upon. When it comes to expression, I would argue that it is impossible to imitate his “drawings in steel” (Frank Plant). His peculiar expression goes far beyond perfect craftsmanship or artistry. It stands a double test: Transfer some drawing one to one to a wall, the result will never come close. Cover or bend a single line of one of his works, and it will lose its spell. The process of bending can be learned, the breathing of life into bended steel never. His work is pointing beyond itself, it stimulates reflection on one’s self and the world. Coming back to the idea of post-modernity (if there is such thing), Frank Plant’s art interacts with and inspires reality and vice versa; but then, how does his art inspire our present reality which is ubiquitously, virtually, permanently communicating with itself? Any observer should find out himself or herself; I sense it has to do with presenting eternal questions in an everyday guise. This endorsement would be incomplete without sharing why I love his works: My family lives with two pieces. They are nonintrusive, presentable, great to have in a living environment and manage to draw attention even after years in an elegant, unpretentious way, always sharp and without ever looking outdated. What remains? Forget all of the above, follow your heart and buy the one piece you like most.

    Alexander H. Engelhardt Husband, Father, Lawyer, Collector