From the Journal: All Smiles

The irony of Caitlin Frown’s surname shouldn’t be misplaced. Within the usually critical, self-important world of up to date superb artwork, Frown creates clay and papier-mâché sculptures which are wealthy in whimsy and levity. It’s work that smiles again at you.

Living proof: At Arts Warehouse’s group exhibition “Pink” in Delray Seaside earlier this yr, Frown proved to be its foremost jester, discovering subversive humor in scenes from on a regular basis life. “The Girls Room” is a roomsize set up shrunken right into a miniature mockup. The pink-walled restroom affords a parody of society’s concept of femininity, nevertheless it’s additionally a deceptively scuzzy place: Look intently at this voyeuristic mannequin, and ants and spiders scurry about.

In “Opossums Like to Gossip,” the sculpted title animal, a beastly yenta of kinds, dons an old-lady nightgown, chatting on the cellphone in her old-lady abode, with old-lady trinkets gathering mud on cabinets. “Everybody has encountered somebody possibly like that—gossipy, searching the window at their neighbors,” says Frown, 29, who lives in West Palm Seaside. “So it’s a trope we will all relate to, mixed with a cute, enjoyable side.”

The artist is keen on wordplay; generally, the titleof a bit will come to her earlier than its creation. Staged on native beachfront, “Mermanager” depicts a fabled merman sporting the nameless garb of a regional supervisor, his espresso mug and workplace accouterments unfold out on the sand. On the time of this interview, Frown was creating a scene of gators at a bowling establishment. Its title, after all, is “Alligator Alley.”

“Bananagram” by Caitlin Frown

“I’ve had a staunch coverage since school to write down every little thing down,” she says. “Whether or not it’s good, dangerous or something in between, I simply write it down, and possibly revisit it later. I’ve notebooks from a number of years.”

Frown has cited the Czech stop-motion filmmaker Jan Švankmajer as an affect on her artwork. David Lynch’s early shorts come to thoughts too, together with Roz Chast’s New Yorker cartoons, with their wry reflections on city mundanity—all of which fall exterior typical gallery paradigms. “I usually really feel misplaced in additional conventional superb artwork areas,” Frown says. “I really feel I’m on the skin trying in.”

A local Minnesotan, Frown grew up largely in Naples, leaving Florida solely to attend the Artwork Institute of Boston, the place she graduated with a serious in Illustration and a minor in Nice Arts. Contemplating each the humor and the sense of childlike nostalgia that permeates a lot of her work, it’s no shock that Frown flirted with turning into a youngsters’s-book creator.

It’s onerous to not grin when spending a while in her house studio, a compendium of accomplished and in-progress works and fastidiously organized provides, many bought from the nonprofit Useful resource Depot, the place she retains a day job. These embrace a tower of compartments, every labeled with their contents: “doll arms,” “animal eyes and lashes,” miniaturized books, lamps and rugs. “There’s one thing very soothing about gathering tiny issues,” she says.

They might see the sunshine of day in considered one of Frown’s forthcoming items, a shrunken condominium advanced—refashioned from an introduction calendar from Aldi—with all of its home windows open, and an enormous, voyeuristic doll peeking inside. (Considered one of her two opinionated cats, which she refers to as her “assistants,” knocked down the “condominium” throughout our interview; from Frown’s response, it wasn’t the primary time.)

This, too, is impressed by reminiscences from her life. “After I lived in Massachusetts, I might take walks rather a lot at evening, and so many individuals would go away their blinds and curtains open,” she says. “To get that momentary glimpse of another person’s life, after which really feel what they really feel for only a second is so fascinating. I needed to symbolize that in a manner.”

Frown has been chosen for 15 exhibitions since 2013, together with one solo present, “It’s So Good to See You,” at Useful resource Depot in 2022. She was most just lately proven this previous fall on the Cultural Council for Palm Seaside County. Wherever she seems subsequent, count on her arresting humorousness to be entrance and heart. In a earlier life, she even toyed with being a standup comic. “I’ve been very shy, so I don’t assume it will have labored,” she says. “If I could make folks giggle from the sidelines, that’s one thing I get pleasure from. Particularly in critical occasions and critical conditions, the power to giggle is necessary.”

This text is from the November/December difficulty of Boca journal. For extra like this, click on right here to subscribe to the journal.