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Drawing With Steel

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Frank Plant is an American sculptor who works in his studio in the Hostafrancs neighborhood of Barcelona, Spain. After studying sculpture at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Plant moved to Amsterdam as he began to develop the form and methods for which he has become known for, his drawings in steel. He has worked on his steel drawings from Barcelona since moving there in 1999. Speaking about his work, Frank Plant says they concern, “sense of humor and some sort of socio/political/economic awareness.” In his series Drawings in Steel, Plant displays this sense across a set of steel sculpted scenes depicting the tasks, objects and subject of every day life. “Taking in the Laundry,” a piece emblematic of Plant’s oeuvre, shows a steel silhouette removing dried laundry from a line. The steel is shaped against a white walled background, as all of the work in this series is, providing the linework of the drawing in a way that gives the illusion that it is ink on paper or canvas. Plant’s particular style of sculpture gives the illusion of a two-dimensional drawing with three-dimensional depth. The angles are drawn into a deceivingly simple cartoon of life, complete with the shadows created by the play between sculpture and the light in the room. Across the series, Plant’s work becomes even more complex, more impressive as he brings new modes of sculpture into the work. Even the simple edition of a glass carafe in his steel drawing, “Max at his Father’s Table,” adds new, almost cartoonish reality to Plant’s artwork. It gets to the point in his pieces to where the existence of other colors and materials feels strange and humorous in Plant’s world of bland, black and white people. It’s fun and oddly moving and the kind of work you can get lost in, looking at it from different angles, honing in on the points of depth and detail. It’s a visual journey well worth taking.


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