The Curtain by Frank Juarez
Frank Juarez is a Wisconsin artist, photographer, gallery owner, art educator, and advocate and community leader living and teaching in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. His solo exhibition titled Playing in the Dark showcases his paintings at Prak-sis Gallery. Even though these painting series are a reduction of visuals with minimalistic approach, the liveliness seeps through the colors; evoking curiosity.
The theme of Playing in the Dark is symbolic for not knowing what to expect as an outcome during his painting sessions. The past summer, he visited the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, PA and saw his first James Turrell Exhibition. Where he was inspired by the things he did not know what to make of the works. As he began to think about it, it slowly made sense. This experience of not knowing what is real and what is implied has attracted him. The installation he kept thinking about was called Pleiades where the room was completely dark. Where you could not see what is in front of you and all you could do was to use your other senses such as touching and hearing to navigate the room. In addition to the closing his gallery, the opportunity to refocus on his studio practice was presented. Playing in the Dark is his personal inquiry on exploring ideas that have been swimming in his mind for months. He is an intuitive painter and the vulnerability of his actions is influenced by his thoughts, emotions and feelings.
For his series Playing in the Dark, the artist’s paintings are driven by a collection of certain things he feels can influence his work. In his studio, he reduces those visuals into paintings with a minimalistic approach. Through his practice, he is able to bring what is important to the surface that the viewer can interpret his/her own meaning. Frank has exhibited at venues including the Museum of Wisconsin Art, Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, Carroll University, Cedarburg Cultural Center, Brickton Art Center, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Anderson Art Center, and the Rahr-West Art Museum. Frank is currently the art department chair at Sheboygan North High School.
The idea of editing his painting process started in 2011 at his home studio. The painting that began this process was called, Yellow Bar. What started as a finished painting turned into a further exploration of color field and abstract painting. A year prior he had the honor of meeting Charlene Von Heyl at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago during the Teacher Institute in Contemporary Art. When discussing his work she mentioned that he was an editor – constantly editing the painting being created. As artists do this, however he never considered himself practicing this until that day. These two experiences have made an impact on how he creates his works.
During studio hours, Juarez visualizes about what he wants to accomplish that day and really try to get into tune with what he is feeling. He closely relates to art movements such as color field painting, minimalism, and abstract expressionism. He is attracted to the use of color found in the works of Robert Irwin, Jack Bush, and Barnett Newman
In 2005, he committed his life to expose, educate and engage others on the importance of experiencing and supporting the Visual Arts. Organizing local and regional art exhibitions, community art event, facilitating presentations, and supporting artists through professional development workshops, use of social media and networking has placed him in the forefront of advancing and promoting local artists and attracting regional and national artists to interact, collaborate, network and exhibit in the Sheboygan community.
Juarez is the art department chair at Sheboygan North High School. He is actively involved in local, regional, state and national arts organization such as the Wisconsin Art Education Association, and the National Art Education Association. He has served as a board member in the following organizations: Milwaukee Artist Resource Network, Arts Wisconsin, and the Cedarburg Cultural Center. He is the founder/former director of the Sheboygan Visual Artists. In 2011, he has opened his first art gallery, EFFJAY PROJEKTS Gallery (now called the Frank Juarez Gallery), in Sheboygan. He has been presenting at local universities/colleges on the Business of Art | Art Business. He founded two projects focused on contemporary art and art education called The Midwest Artist Studios and the 365 Artists 365 Days Project. Recently, he has been recognized as the 2015 Wisconsin Art Education Association Teacher of the Year.
Here are some photographs at the soft opening.
After the reception, a bunch of us went for awesome Asian BBQ.