In Beyond, an eloquent instance of her expressive practice, the American painter Dana Frankfort presents a densely-textured thicket of oil paint, with shimmering gestural brushstrokes in orange and magenta revealing flashes of pale ochre and cobalt blue. Visible in orange, not quite disguised but somewhat concealed, are the six capitalised letters of the word ‘beyond.’ Placed within this context, these letters are simultaneously turned into abstract shapes and granted a communicative power to interpret the bold strokes and dashes that surround them. Though Frankfort – whose paintings have appeared in both editions of ‘Abstract America’at the Saatchi Gallery in 2007 and 2009 – works in the legacy of Abstract Expressionism, her melding of non-figurative paintwork with the denotative power of language makes her unique. ‘I’m interested,’ she has said, ‘in abstraction re-enforcing the meaning of the word. I’m interested in the tension between the power of the word linguistically and formally, what it can do on its own as a painting.’ Beyond plays with the potency of abstract art to present something beyond simple apprehension, and to conjure up states past the standard range of human experience. Frankfort’s work is currently on display at New York’s Jewish Museum, where it forms part of the permanent collection.
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