This exhibition at the Albert Shahinian Fine Art and Poughkeepsie Art Museum Galleries ran through January 4, 2004. Ninety-four-year-old Frederick Franck preferred to call this retrospective collection of his multidimensional work an "introspective" so that people would come to approach it in a contemplative state of mind. He called himself an "image maker" rather than an "artist," saying the latter title is too honorific to carry around.
It has been more than 30 years since Franck withdrew his drawings and paintings from the gallery circuit to concentrate on more image-making and writing about art and the spiritual life. This exhibition concentrated on his drawings and paintings, many never displayed in public before. Also included were some superb photographs of Franck's terra cotta human faces.
The catalog contains Albert Shahinian's statement as Curator and a foreword by Hans M. J. Nieuwdorp, Director, Museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp, Belgium, who salutes Franck's vision:
" 'The meaning of life is to see,' says an ancient Chinese sage. For this artist it is not only his life's credo, but also his constant practical guideline. As a Westerner and an artist Franck is particularly endowed to transmit this insight to his contemporaries in all its richness and profundity by the persuasive spontaneity of his drawings. A drawing is not a 'thing' to him, but witness of an inner process of seeing."
The artist contributed a five-page essay in which he talks about his discovery of his vocation, his reactions to world events, and key moments in his life, including his transformation of a old mill in rural New York into a home, sanctuary, and sculpture garden. Still creating, he describes his most recent paintings:
"I see 'inner landscapes,' cosmic moods of dawn and dusk, snow falling, rain splashing, blinding whites, atmospheric grays, bottomless blacks, total serenities and turbulences, that kept on appearing. These paintings are not 'designed,' they are not planned, they are not abstract, nor are they traditional or academic. There are hardly any images of buildings, of architecture and even of human life to be detected in them. They are riddles to me, but inevitable. I can only guess that they are forms. condensations of Emptiness into atmospheres, dusk and dawn, galloping clouds, snow covering these cosmic condensations of Emptiness."
The exhibition is divided into four sections: early works, drawings, paintings, and ikons. Savoring the variety of images and the incredible diversity of subjects here, it is not too far a stretch to praise Franck as a gifted artist whose visionary talent, reverence for life, and yearning for peace is unique in the world of art — a treasure for all generations and a gift to the world.