Frank Woll has dedicated himself to the creation of fine art prints, architectural sculpture and graphic design in the unique tradition of Northwest Coastal Formline design. Frank’s translation of contemporary technologies in print- making, sculpture and architectural illustration to the visual vocabulary of ancient design techniques create evocative visions to deeply engage the viewer.
Northwest Coast Native Indian art is a very old invented system of drawing which elegantly and precisely captures and symbolizes the Cosmos of a people living on stretches of shoreline surrounded by magnificent forests, sweeping weathery skies and abundant animal life.
I experience this art (also known as Formline Design) as a personal language. Originally I found myself continuously confused by what it was whispering to me as it was far beyond what I ever expected. Now I imagine it to be the same sound Kepler heard when discovering his geometry, the arcs and circles described by the orbits of the Moon and Planets, harmonized into the “Music of the Spheres.” During the process by which I refine my own work I magnify to a detail the human eye cannot normally perceive. Even here the Formline is sound and unwavering in its desire to be perfectly fitted. When I draw I no longer consciously hear the abrasion of graphite across paper as the pencil falls into a Northwest Coast arc, instead I believe I hear Keplers’ “Music of the Ovoids”. It is the same song of modern particle physics – of Raven unleashing the mighty Sun from its small box within a box. Energy shell within energy shell…It is also the song sung by those who understand the “uni-verse” through the simple arc of a well proportioned line – a line that describes motion with a heavy, oily momentum that bulges around corners, and accelerates into a thin wisp of a line. The ovoids, U’s, Split U’s, etc. all dance before your eyes as ones conscious, subconscious, and superconscious sequentially fold into and out of human/animal identity, into and out of spirit/matter. The art seems to be an archaic parallel to the contemporary writings in “systems theories” which describe how the chaotic behavior of Nature organizes itself into precise and fantastic structures. Formline design is the natural extension of the thread that weaves into and out of all the great religions and human myths, codifying and reorganizing Nature into story (be it spoken, musical, or visual). Truly this art form is an epiphany of archaic shamanism and modern philosophical physics woven into the language of a human aesthetic representation of the Cosmos.
I have always been drawn to the language of mathematics wishing to see the strange theoretical landscapes mathematicians experience at the edge of human understanding. I was never able for one reason or another to find a schooling experience that could reach through my mental barriers and reveal deep mathematics to me. However, in the art form I now practice I know I am standing at an edge and viewing those same landscapes.