London-born and based artist Frank Kent works across sculpture, photography and drawing, examining their intersections to disrupt perceptual and spatial experience. He is known for his ongoing collaborative projects with British artist Brian Griffiths.
Kent studied at London's Royal Academy Schools (RA Schools), graduating with a Postgraduate Diploma in 2016. He holds a BA Fine Art from Nottingham Trent University (2010). Prior to pursuing art, Kent worked as a carpenter.
Frank Kent Artworks
Kent's intuitive approach to materiality, composition and perception come together in the artist's investigations into the intimate relationship between the visual and tactile – between what we see and the act of touch – and between the two- and three-dimensional.
Former RA Schools lecturer Mary Maclean wrote, '[Kent] experiments with both a form of literalism and artifice embracing the synergy between a material and the hand that crafts.'
Kent and Brian Griffiths met at RA Schools and together developed AIR SIGNS (2019–ongoing), a series described by the artists as 'sculptural works that are presented as photographs'. Assembling objects from their shared studio and day-to-day lives, Kent and Griffiths present their idiosyncratic compositions as square photographs unified by wooden framing devices and stage-like backdrops.
The formulation of humorous narratives with a slapstick sensibility are evident in titles such as Power, History and Comfort – an arrangement of three chairs; Opening Event – a tiered toolbox with sparklers set alight in the upper compartments; or Honest Condition (all 2019) – a humble pairing of a broom and scrubbing brush.
Griffiths and Kent also collaborated on the exhibition Life and its most trivial particulars (2021) at Van Gogh House, London. Drawing upon the building's history and the life of the eponymous artist, Griffiths and Kent composed still life-inspired images forming a comedic, quasi-biographical narrative around Van Gogh's legacy. The photograph Spring Whip (2021) demonstrates a continuity of their AIR SIGNS enquiry, with the recurring wooden frame surrounded this time by a thorny vine.
Kent's works possess a cross-disciplinary sensibility, with sculptures often appearing as two-dimensional drawings, and vice versa. For his 2017 exhibition, New Works at FOLD Gallery in London, Kent presented a series of geometric wooden frames painted white.
Works such as Diamond, Small Octagon and Large Triangle (all 2017) were set against a green wall, with the structures becoming flattened when viewed front-on. In Rectangle with Yellow Ribbon (2016), a boxy rectangular frame is seen draped in repeated loops with ribbon. The pine wood is delicately carved, with thin curls of protruding timber echoing the curvature of the ribbon and enhancing the sense of optical tension.
Kent has produced several commissions, including Life Room Seats at RA Schools, London (2014) and Movable Wall System at Backlit, Nottingham (2013).
Awards and Accolades
Kent was the recipient of the Patricia Turner Award for Sculpture, RA Schools (2016); Landseer Prize, RA Schools (2015); and the Grand Prize at Castle Open, Nottingham Castle (2011).
In 2015, Kent undertook a three-month residency at Geidai, Tokyo University of the Arts.
Frank Kent has presented work in solo and group exhibitions throughout the U.K.
Solo exhibitions include: Karsten Schubert, London (2023); New Works, FOLD Gallery, London (2017).
Group exhibitions include: Frank Dot & Brian Oval, Sid Motion Gallery, London (2022); Life and its most trivial particulars, Van Gogh House, London (2021); AIR SIGNS, Karsten Schubert Room 2, London (2020); Sketches of a Future Room with Wavy Frames, Chalton Gallery, London (2017); RA Schools Show (2016).
Frank KentA good day, 2022Ash, pine, lime, oak, sapele, lead, wool, shellac, sequins, card, gouache, lacquered lid and honesty62 x 52 x 30 cm | 24 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 11 3/4 in
Frank KentBye, 2022Oak veneer, walnut veneer, sapele, oak, lead, wool, wire, dried poppies and drawing curve57 x 71 x 30 cm | 22 1/2 x 28 x 11 3/4 in
Frank KentDream, 2022Cypress wood, gesso primer, soft pastels, white pencil, steel staples, wool54 x 56 x 14.5 cm | 21 1/4 x 22 x 5 3/4 in
Frank KentGo on, 2022Fumed, lacquered and eboniesd oak, lead, wire, shellac, oil paint, paper, gouache, wool, pins, beads, tufnol, drawing curves and honesty76 x 87 x 56 cm | 30 x 34 1/4 x 22 in
Frank KentHave you ever felt quite like this, 2022Wool, stalks, pine, string and pins32 x 28 x 7 cm | 12 5/8 x 11 x 2 3/4 in
Frank KentSo far to go, 2022Mahogany, bricks, tufnol cog, steel rod, wooden drawing curves, putty, dyed wool, brass rod, copper wire, dyed cotton fabric and casein paint125 x 138 x 78 cm | 49 1/4 x 54 3/8 x 30 3/4 in