Billy Gerard Frank’s latest work, “Eulogies”—which explores his past and a complex relationship with his father—will be on display through August 13 at Elizabeth Moss Galleries in Portland, Maine. Here are excerpts from Eric Russell’s review, “Inspired by trip home to Grenada, rising art world star [Billy Gerard Frank] unpacks his suitcase in Portland,” for the Portland Press Herald. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]
Multimedia artist and filmmaker Billy Gerard Frank hadn’t returned to his home country, the Caribbean island nation of Grenada, in decades.
He left as a teenager after growing estranged from a region of the world where living as a gay person meant ostracization, or worse. Grenada still has so-called buggery laws, which prohibit sexual contact between two men.
Frank revisited for the first time five years ago, after the death of his father, and the long-awaited return was both cathartic and creatively inspirational. “I found this suitcase he had that was filled with letters and mementos and maps,” he said. “That sort of became the impetus to mine his life and also mine my life alongside his.”
The result was a series of work that will be on display, beginning this month and running through mid-August, at Elizabeth Moss Galleries on Fore Street in Portland. His solo exhibit, “Eulogies,” includes a film installation, set mostly in Grenada, accompanied by multimedia collage canvases, mixed-media photographs and sculpture. The series explores themes of exile, colonialism and sexuality, all of them personal to the artist. [. . .]
Frank has always drawn from his own life for inspiration, but never more so that in his current series, “Eulogies.”
One of the things he realized in learning about his father and his own upbringing is how much he was exposed to art, albeit in non-traditional ways.
“My dad, who was primarily a boatbuilder, was an incredible carpenter. He had a deep appreciation for aesthetic,” Frank said. “He was an artist himself, just not by name. Anytime he built something, he knew it had to be beautiful.”
Frank’s mother had similar sensibilities. She worked as a seamstress, sometimes even for local theater companies in Grenada. [. . .]
Frank’s exhibit in Portland isn’t a traditional paintings-on-the-wall presentation.
The centerpiece is a 40-minute film, “2nd Eulogy: Mind The Gap,” that will play on a single screen inside Moss Galleries, complemented by other pieces, including photographic stills from the film, a hand-stitched canvas collage and a sculpture.
The film, Frank said, centers on Nelson, a fisherman, whose gay son, James, comes of age in a changing island landscape. The story is fictional, but James’ story mirrors Frank’s own. [. . .]
For full article, see https://www.pressherald.com/2022/07/03/inspired-by-trip-home-to-grenada-rising-art-world-star-with-maine-ties-unpacks-his-suitcase-in-portland
Eulogies: Billy Gerard Frank
July 8 – August 13, 2022
Elizabeth Moss Galleries, 100 Fore Street, Suite B, Portland, ME 04101
See more at https://www.elizabethmossgalleries.com/exhibitions/63-billy-gerard-frank-eulogies/works
[Shown above: SECOND EULOGY: MIND THE GAP (ENTRADA: AT THE RIVER AND OCEAN NO.1) 2019.]