Wolf Kahn on Frank Stout:

        "Frank Stout and I were upstairs neighbors in a New York loft building way back in 1965. His daughter was a small child at the time, and I had two little girls, aged two and six. The treads on the stairs were worn from the little feet going up and down. With all this domesticity, it took me a little while to recognize that my neighbor was a first-rate painter. His subjects, even then, displayed that unique mixture of tenderness and a slightly malicious humor which continues to be characteristic of his work.

I can clearly recall one early painting of a flimsy black bra hanging somewhat disconsolately over a dirty-yellow radiator to dry. There was a still life of a banged-up coffeepot and pictures of cars with spooky headlights on the road at night. With these paintings Frank was beginning to make an impression in New York.

At that very point, he received the invitation to teach at Marlboro College. For a young artist with a child, a wife, and an intermittent and uncertain source of income, this was a difficult offer to refuse, even if it meant leaving the place "where the action is." It meant foregoing a larger public, critical acclaim, and the attention of collectors and museum people. It took a serious toll on Frank's subsequent public exposure.

However, unlike many young artists who leave New York to teach at colleges, Frank continued to paint and sculpt with undiminished energy and enthusiasm, and never really lost his verve or his inventiveness. The drying-bra humor of city life in the loft gave way to wry and affectionate descriptions of trailers and diners and commentaries on flea-market photos of group occasions. Little, affecting vignettes of Vermont life were part of his work, such as the winter landscape of the Fox Road cemetery, with its only spot of color the small American flag visible above the snow-covered graves.

When it was too cold to paint (paint can't be handled unless it's warm enough), Frank inventively used clay, wood, foam core, and wire screening to do his work. And in everything he did and does, he shows an enviable freedom, a real virtuosity. His work looks effortless and natural, exemplifying what Mallarmé described as "the condition to which every work of art inspires, that of having created itself." "

Selected Press:

        "A painter with a deft touch and a gently comical world view…Don’t miss the delightful portrait of Philip Pearlstein."
The New York Times

        "Droves of contemporary artists employing high-tech implements, suitably obtuse theories and hundreds of square feet of exhibition space only dream of the disassociated effect Frank Stout achieves with materials as quotidian as oil paint and canvas...These sweeping ruminations on individuality and anonymity evoke a smoky meat-and-potatoes America, one that's not so much bygone, as absorbed into our collective memory... The figures populating the paintings look out expectantly, as if they were relying on us to fulfill our role in some unnameable bargain. These personages, at once bland and grotesque are flicked into life by Mr. Stout's deft and wicked brush...Compelling, uncanny, and this side of cruel, Mr. Stout, something of a prophet, is more disconcerting than Francis Bacon ever was."
The New York Observer

        "…In recent years, Stout has been especially productive…the materials themselves, many of them unconventional, seem to have ignited a new exuberance in his art. With a mastery earned by decades of drawing…and with an accuracy of perception that makes sport of mere exactitude, he gives form to inspirations comical, sublime, or in recognition of our human predicament—both."
David Rohn, Curator

    "The work of Frank Stout has an unusual paradox: the painterly eloquence, which seems to evoke a deceptive ease in depicting modes of appearances, is betrayed by a compulsive need to iterate expressionistic gestures throughout the picture planes.

Frank Stout is a product of the movement that in the 1950s began to counter the prevailing abstract styles by working with the figure—Alex Katz, Fairfield Porter, Jan Muller, Wolf Kahn, and Bob Thompson were among the leading proponents of this approach. Unlike most of his contemporaries, however, Stout’s interest in the figure has a particular emphasis on lesser expressionistic pathos. His descriptive representation of subdued facial expression projects his own empathy for each individual he portrays. One gets the feeling that Stout might deliberately choose whether to invent his own figure or to work from photographs in order to increase the freedom of spontaneity. This choice is perhaps essential in reading the intentionality behind Stout’s work.

The two paintings in the show, “Nursing School Graduates” and “Highschool Graduate,” are good examples of Stout’s most successful syntheses of descriptive form and his insistence on flattening the picture plane. He manages to achieve this by a grid-like repetition of brushwork, which operates via a multitude of gestures that are more akin to intimate expressionistic calligraphy than to the large silhouettes in Alex Katz’s monumental canvases. In this respect, Frank Stout is closer to the Abstract Expressionists in terms of content rather than size. Furthermore, Stout’s foremost seductive quality is the luminous liquidity he gives both to the paint and to the painted alike, creating an evanescence of lightness and spirit. Stout’s sincerity, meanwhile, would never allow him to be too clever. "
The Brooklyn Rail