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Frank Walter
To Capture a Soul

21 June—15 September 2024
The Drawing Center, New York, NY, USA

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The Drawing Center is pleased to present Frank Walter: To Capture a Soul, the first solo museum exhibition in the United States to focus on the work of Antiguan artist Frank Walter (1926–2009). A polymath with a keen intellect and thirst for knowledge, Walter created a body of work that encompasses a variety of mediums, subject matter, and styles. During his lifetime Walter produced over 5,000 paintings, 1,000 drawings, 600 sculptures, 2,000 photographs, 468 hours of recordings, and a 50,000-page archive. Organized by The Drawing Center’s Chief Curator Claire Gilman, To Capture a Soul provides insight into not only Walter’s artistic practice but also his relationship to issues of race and identity, the legacy of slavery, the colonial and postcolonial experience, and the history and politics of Antigua, Barbuda, and beyond.

Frank Walter was a recorder seeking to capture the world around him at every turn. His wide- ranging body of work encompasses impressionistic, brightly-colored landscapes on cardboard; expressive linear portraits on paper; bold, abstract cosmological compositions; carved wooden sculptures; and pages upon pages of writing including poems, written narratives, genealogical trees, maps, and musical scores. As a rule, Walter worked small, obsessively filling materials that were available to hand like cardboard, paper, and even the backs of the Polaroids that he sold in the photo studio he operated for a number of years.

Drawing was not necessarily Walter’s primary medium but it was his constant, and there is what one might call a “drawing impulse” at the core of his investigative drive. Friends from Antigua recall him always with a pencil in hand. With only a few lines, one acquaintance observed, he would capture your soul. Frank Walter: To Capture a Soul considers this artist and thinker through the lens of his drawings, featuring works on paper alongside works on cardboard and wood, and featuring his many notebooks as well as his musical, genealogical and poetic compositions.

Frank Walter: To Capture a Soul
also explores Walter’s widespread impact on contemporary art by inviting artists to engage with Walter’s work both in the galleries and in the accompanying publication and public programs. On the occasion of To Capture a Soul, The Drawing Center presents Josh Smith: Life Drawing, the first exhibition of drawings by acclaimed contemporary artist Josh Smith, conceived by the artist as an homage to Frank Walter.