Peering through the large windows of Kestrel Coffee; one’s eye might catch the vibrant glow of expression, quietly shouting from the background for any semblance of attention. You walk in, buy your coffee, and journey to the back hallway. Alas, you find a large canvas poorly lit smeared with paint, without any identification other than a signature. Thus, brings us to the entry of Franky DeAngelis’s Gallery/show titled “Art is Anarchy.” This rotating exhibit of DeAngelis works, showcasing current and older works. Is there any rhyme or reason to what’s hanging? I sure as hell couldn’t find one. Which may be intentional, given the title of the show.
You are greeted by an untitled piece that from afar looks like it may hold up but upon further viewing, you can’t help but feel like you’ve seen it before. In essence, it holds the flavor of the 1980s New York scene. A mix between Basquiat and Hambleton. An attempt. Contrived. Hollow. There is a blocky feel; each element of this painting happening one at a time. Every layer, an afterthought. It does however have an air of spontaneity and gestural freedom, which will hold throughout all DeAngelis’ pieces. There is entry to the painting, though there isn’t a clear exit. The experience is like a pinball being flung around a dystopian themed maze of buzzers and springs. Chaotic and unsettling, it aids to the overarching theme of the exhibit. Freedom from technique, structure, intention. The lawless land of DeAngelis.
The very next piece is simply placed below and to the right of the first piece is a smaller simpler rendering that is one of the more successful artworks of the entire show. The use of the monochromatic base and the subtle use of color implies control. The placement of the geometry and the color choices create a strong functioning tension. There is a plot unfolding between triangle and circle. An unknown dialogue, with hints of a forbidden romance. The entry and exit points of this work are well established. Entering at triangle center moving to the upper point. The circles of the upper right-hand corner forcing the viewer’s eye to the left in a nice flowing current over to the orange circle. Then down the left-hand border to the base where the eye can easily exit the bottom right. Overall the work is a pleasant experience that captivates the imagination.
The show follows this uneven trend of ups and downs. Turn a corner, see something with potential, it falls short, you move on and find something somewhat worthwhile. The art feels forced and tailored to an online presence. Asking the question, is art anarchy? Or is art an intoxicant? DeAngelis needs to spend more time with his works. Think about why and what he is doing. Make art for himself, not for the audience. Be honest and prevail.
“Art is Anarchy” is currently up at Kestrel Coffee in Burlington, Vermont. More of his works can be found at his website https://www.frankdeangelis.art/