"In a world where communications are increasingly complex and languages seem even more abstract, I believe that art brings a vocabulary and syntax that is universal, compassionate and intimate. "
In November 2017, artist Richard W. Franklin (RW Franklin) visited Hong Kong as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State’s Art in Embassies Program. The trip included speaking exchanges with a variety of audiences including fellow artists, university students, museum curators, arts administrators and local students.
Franklin’s painting Wallendas in Flight, 2016, is featured in the current Art in Embassies exhibition at the residence of U.S. Consul General Kurt Tong. The exhibition includes a selection of five American artists: Emily Barletta, Eric Dever, RW Franklin, Isaac Tin Wei Lin, and Philip Taaffe. The works highlight each artist’s personal take on the non-figurative through experimentation with process and materials.
Franklin’s acrylic-on-panel painting is unique as Franklin affixes tree branches into the composition of color blocks, forms, and shapes. His use of natural, organic elements creates a depth to the painted surface and material connectivity to the forms. The real-life elements animate his otherwise abstract paintings; a technique he has developed and incorporated into his body of work over the past several years.
During his trip, Franklin visited institutions including Asia Society Hong Kong, The University of Hong Kong (HKU) Museum & Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Art Museum, Oi! Art Space, and Hong Kong Baptist University Academy of Visual Arts (HKBU AVA). At several venues, Mr. Franklin lectured about his own trajectory as an artist and arts professional, describing how, in addition to planning for things carefully… “Uncertainty can also allow for chance opportunities in our own lives if we are receptive.”
Franklin was a Fulbright Scholar in Korea from 1976 to 1979. During his Fulbright Fellowship, he traveled extensively in Asia giving talks at more than 50 institutions. Most notably, through the Fulbright experience, Franklin was the first American to exhibit work at the National Museum in Seoul.
When comparing his recent trip with his previous Fulbright experiences in Asia, Franklin remarked that, “during both periods it was evident that the majority of participants, whether involved in the arts directly or not, experienced both a profound cultural as well as human connection through this program. Simply put – it connects us and changes all our lives. And in my experience it is this web of human connections that more than any other single element gives our international relationships the elasticity needed to bridge the gap between cultures and societies – especially when there is tension.”