FRAGILE: Frank Anigbo & Richard Neal
October 6 - January 8, 2023
While Cape Cod is known for its natural beauty and the artwork it inspires, it is also the home of many contemporary artists whose work reflects the broader world. FRAGILE is an exhibition by two such artists – Frank Anigbo and Richard Neal – who have collaborated to offer a study in contrasts and a commentary on the literal and figurative fires ignited by racism. Curated by author Lauren Wolk, the exhibition will take place from October 6-December 31, 2022, at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, Massachusetts.
Frank Anigbo is a 55-year-old black man whose paintings are primarily of his beautiful family and the home they share, all of them steeped in vulnerability to a racist world. Richard Neal is a 66-year-old white man whose most recent paintings depict infernos, often in the act of destroying human creation. They are two very different artists known for radically different subject matter, techniques, palettes, and materials.
During the pandemic, these artists worked independently, in seclusion but greatly influenced by the barrage of threats from the outside world.
In the fall of 2021, Neal began to see the possibility of an interesting nexus between his work and Anigbo’s. “I didn’t really have a mental picture of what that might look like,” Neal says. “I was drawn by the emotional power and the commitment of Frank’s work, but it wasn't until I saw our paintings together that I felt overwhelmingly that there was a combined power greater than the sum of the parts.”
In Neal’s paintings, Anigbo saw the manifestation of the lifelong racism he has experienced. They were, to him, “the embodiment of what has terrified me, as a parent, over the last few years.”
Their combined work conveys both innocence and the destruction of that innocence.
The similarities and contrasts between these two artists, their lives, and their work are fascinating. So are the contrasting and complementary layers in the exhibit itself: form and function, emotion and intellect, power and vulnerability. One final layer will be the poetry that Wolk has composed to accompany the artwork.
The three make for an interesting trio presenting an interesting exhibit during an interesting time.
“Experiencing the artwork of Frank Anigbo and Richard Neal side by side evokes a visceral response,” affirms Benton Jones, CCMoA Director of Art. “Like oil and water, the juxtaposition of ferocious destruction and vignettes of familial intimacy works to emphasize the other. The result is an exhibition that exposes the fragility of being human in an uncompassionate and unforgiving world. Lauren Wolk, guest curator and contributing poet, provides a third perspective to this unlikely combination of artworks that tells an unsettling story. A story that, unfortunately, documents our place in time."
Listen to a recording of the November 3rd panel discussion at CCMoA with Richard Neal, Frank Anigbo and Lauren Wolk, moderated by Mindy Todd, The Point, WCAI. LISTEN HERE
READ MORE ABOUT FRAGILE in Provincetown Arts Magazine
Watch the LCTV Arts Light Video Interview with
Frank Anegbo, Richard Neal and Lauren Wolk