Frank J. Stockton’s work examines the desires, expectations, and shortcomings of masculinity in contemporary America through the employment of a hybridized vocabulary of Modernist painting, Superhero Comics, and American illustration.
You’re An Eagle Now continues the trajectory begun in the Big House installation (January, 2018). These paintings deconstruct narrative through spacial rearrangement of iconography, built on borrowed terms from the functional language of graphic novels. “Gutters” are discrete panels whose meanings are defined by context and position. “Sinks,” on the other hand, are receptacles for multiple ideas and images superimposed or piled on top of each other. Combining these two complimentary structures amalgamates into something new and less restrictive.
These latest pieces spawn from a found image of an Eagle Scout on a vintage greeting card. In You’re An Eagle Now (gutter 08) (2018), the main figure is bifurcated and reassembled, a boy displaying his merit badges with a tangible eagerness to embark on an unknown adventure. Suddenly… Free (2018) is a sequence of panels describing different times, images and moods strung together in particle-like dispersion. Our protagonist, the Scout, is rotated counter-clockwise to lie on his back, staring at the night sky above. A blue house to his left roughly sketches a time and location, but we are left uncertain whether it is the source or the destination. Tail Feathers (2018) refigures the Scout as a bald eagle, soaring resiliently through a landscape of splatters, scrapes, drips, stains and thick impasto paint with under a bright yellow “sun” looming overhead.