Frank Faulkner

Born in Sumter, South Carolina in 1946, Frank Faulkner received his B.F.A. from the University of North Carolina in 1968, Phi Beta Kappa, and his M.F.A. from the same institution in 1972. Faulkner’s work quickly won him numerous grants and awards, including an individual artist grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1974. He was selected for the Whitney Biennial in 1975, which prompted him to settle in New York. There, he came to the attention of Dorothy Miller, Curator Emeritus of the Museum of Modern Art with a legendary eye for new talent. Since then, Faulkner has continued to garner acclaim and awards. He has been featured in dozens of one-person exhibitions (not to mention group exhibitions) in this country, as well as in Japan, Switzerland, and Germany.

Faulkner’s work is owned by leading museums (the Smith College museum in Northampton, Massachusetts, for example, the National Museum of American Art and the Hirshhorn in Washington, D.C.) and by renowned collectors such as Nelson Rockefeller, Baron Leon Lambert, Phillip Hanes and Abba Eban.

What a viewer first notices is the sheer elegance of the pieces, no matter what materials Faulkner uses—metal, wood and fabric as well as canvas and paper. Obvious, too, is the artist’s originality. Faulkner belongs to no school. His work is patterned but is far too intellectual to qualify as so-called “pattern art,” which mainly strives to be merely pretty. Rather, he paints in his own highly organized way, filling the surface without being excessive or boring.

Faulkner sets up a system, say, of dots or dashes, then subtly changes the visual rhythms in order to add life and surprise—what he calls “the gymnastics of seeing.” He works and reworks the surfaces of his canvases, often laying down one thin layer of slightly reflective gold, silver or bronze paint upon another until the final work seems to glow with inner light. John Ashbery, a leading critic and poet, has likened Faulkner’s art to minimalist music, which achieves both simplicity and beauty from its obsessive repetitions. The critic Carter Ratcliff describes it more simply as “brilliant artifice.” Faulkner’s current work, a series of paintings on paper, continues and deepens this exploration of the relationship between wrought surface and changing light.

Another striking aspect of the work is the influence of the decorative arts. Faulkner has made some paintings on wood that stand independently and fold open like screens. Other pieces resemble large tapestries, and yet others take their inspiration from Art Nouveau inlays. Faulkner is quick to admit his sources. To him, the applied arts are indistinguishable from the fine art. He knows and loves Samurai armor, Classical architectural details, chinoiserie, Persian rugs—the whole gamut of the applied arts—and they, of course, inform his creations. Indeed, he is so interested in interiors that he has, while continuing to paint, spent much of the last decade restoring old houses and advising clients how to decorate their homes. (Many of the results have been featured in periodicals such as Architectural Digest and House & Garden.)

Philip Herrera, June 2006

Photo of Frank Faulkner

Abstract Flora

Birch Trees

Other Works


1946 Sumter, South Carolina

M.F.A. University of North Carolina, 1972
B.F.A. University of North Carolina, 1968, Phi Beta Kappa

North Carolina Arts Council, 1991
Collaboration Artist Award, American Institute of Architects, 1976
SECCA National Endowment Grant, 1976
National Endowment for the Arts, Individual Artists Grant, 1976
Urban Walls Project, National Endowment for the Arts Grant
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 1974

Robert McClain & Co., Houston, Texas, 1999
Somerhill Gallery, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1999
Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, New York, 1999
Robert McClain & Co., Houston, Texas, 1998
Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 1998
Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, New York, 1998
Robert McClain & Co., Houston, Texas, 1995 & 1996
Arden Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts, 1995
Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1994
Merita Gilliam Gallery, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1992
Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 1990 & 1991
Arden Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts, 1991
Associated American Artists, New York, New York, 1990
Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 1988
Arden Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts, 1988
Davis/McClain, Houston, Texas, 1987
Associated American Artists, New York, New York, 1987
Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1987
Wake Forest Arts Association, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1987
Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 1986
Gibbs Museum, Charleston, South Carolina, 1986
Hodges Taylor Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1986
Davis/McClain, Houston, Texas, 1985
Roy Boyd Gallery, Los Angeles, California, 1985
Monique Knowlton Gallery, New York, New York, 1984
Davis/McClain, Houston, Texas, 1983
Roy Boyd Gallery, Los Angeles, California, 1983
Monique Knowlton Gallery, New York, New York, 1983
Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem,
North Carolina, 1983
Monique Knowlton Gallery, New York, New York, 1982
Carolyn Schneebeck Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1981
Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 1981
Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina, 1979
Alexandra Monnett Gallery, Brussels, Belgium, 1978
Henri Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1977
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, 1977

Field and Stream, Monique Knowlton Gallery, New York, 1986
Chicago International ArtFair, Chicago, Illinois, 1995
Frank Faulkner: Recent Paintings and Michael Todd: Recent Sculpture,
Davis/McClain, Houston, Texas, 1992
Associated American Artists, New York, New York, 1990
David Heath Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia, 1987
“New York Painter”, LaForet Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 1985
“New Concepts in Printmaking”, Associated American Artists,
New York, New York, 1985
“Art/Furniture”, Davis/McClain Gallery, Houston, Texas, 1985
“Andrew Wyeth, A Trojan Horse Modernist”, Greenville County
Museum of Art, Greenville, North Carolina, 1984
“The Fabric of Ornamentation”, Bruce Museum, Greenwich,
Connecticut, 1983
“New Work”, Monique Knowlton Gallery, New York, New York, 1983
“Recent Work”, Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 1983
“Transpersonal Images”, International Transpersonal Association
Conference, Davos, Switzerland, 1983
“The Spirit of Orientalism”, Nueberger Museum, Purchase,
New York, 1982
“Arabia Felix”, Art Gallery, New York, New York, 1981
“The Art of North Carolina”, Squibb Center, Princeton, New Jersey
and Duke University Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina, 1981
“Abstract Art in the 80's”, Randolph-Macon Women's College,
Lynchburg, Virginia, 1981
“Mit Sammlung Ludwig”, Neue Galerie, Aachen, Germany, 1981
“Pattern and Decoration”, Kreuzinger Galerie, Innsbruck, Austria, 1980
“Patterns”, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, 1979
“Patterns and Decoration”, Galerie Haberman,
Cologne, Germany, 1979
“New York Now”, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, 1979
“13 Galleries”, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, 1979
“Southeastern Painters and Sculptors”, High Museum of Art,
Atlanta, Georgia, 1977
“Biennial of Contemporary American Art”, Whitney Museum of
American Art, New York, New York, 1975
“James River Annual”, Norfolk, Virginia, 1971

National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C.
Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, uffalo, New York
Sammlung Ludwig, Neue Galerie, Aachen, Germany
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware
Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Missouri
Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina
Ackland Memorial Art Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Pennsylvania State University Museum of Art, University Park,
North Carolina State University Raleigh, North Carolina
Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, New York
Amoco Production Company, Houston, Texas
Compaq Computer Corporation, Houston, Texas
Seagull Energy Corporation, Houston, Texas
United Bank, Houston, Texas
Contract Compression, Houston, Texas
Harris Bank, Chicago, Illinois
R.J. Reynolds Corporation, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Hanes Corporation, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
General Electric Company, Stamford, Connecticut
Owens-Corning Fiberglass Collection, Toledo, Ohio
Southeastern Banking Corporation, Miami, Florida
Hollywood Federal Savings and Loan Association,
Hollywood, Florida
Becton Dickinson & Company, Paramus, New Jersey
Dulin Gallery of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee
Citibank Corporation, New York, New York
Denver National Bank, Denver, Colorado
Aetna Life, Hartford, Connecticut
Sheik Achmed Jafail, Jedda, Saudi Arabia
Olympia And York Corporation, Dallas, Texas
New York City Transit Authority, Borough Hall Station,
Brooklyn, New York
A.T.&T., Atlanta, Georgia
Prudential Insurance Company of America, Newark, New Jersey
Tupperware Corporation, Jacksonville, Florida
Equitable Life Assurance Corporation of America,
New York, New York
Orlando International Airport, Orlando, Florida
Marriott Marquis Hotel, San Francisco, California
IBM, San Francisco, California
The Portman Hotel, San Francisco, California
Barnett Bank, Jacksonville, Florida
Wachovia Bank, Charlotte, North Carolina
Nations Bank World Headquarters, Charlotte, North Carolina

Nelson Rockefeller
Shah of Iran
David Rockefeller
Dorothy Miller
Arthur Goldberg
Abba Eban
Baron Leon Lambert
George Hanes
Phillip Hanes
Joseph Hirshorn
H.R.H. Princess Moudi Bent Khalid