Frankie Toan + McLain Community High School

In Residence: January 11, 2016 – March 5, 2016
Exhibition Opens: Thursday, March 3, 2016
Exhibition Continues Through: March 17
Learning Lab: McLain Community High School

About the Learning Lab Fourteen teens will spend nine weeks with Artist in Residence, Frankie Toan building their personal practice through material exploration, experimentation and an all around playful approach to their work. Each session will investigate everyday experiences which will be distilled into personal sculptures. Each session will build on the next and start with self-reflections and body experiments. Have you ever looked into the mirror and tried to lick your nose? Can you raise your eyebrows one at a time? These exercises will connect participants to their bodies creating powerful and uncomfortable experiences.
About McLain Community High School McLain’s programs have been tailored to meet the needs of the diverse students and families that they support. Students earn their high school diploma by completing the graduation requirements as outlined by Jefferson County Public Schools. Their programs prepare students to be college and work ready upon graduation. Students are provided opportunities that encourage self-confidence and success. Personalized communication with parents and guardians also supports our students in their education. McLain students attend for a variety of reasons. Students are required to attend classes daily, and to participate in classroom discussions and activities. The majority of students at McLain are working, parenting, volunteering and/or are enrolled in Warren Tech programs.


About the Artist Franklin “F.E” Toan holds a BFA in Craft and Material Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University, with a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. He views of craft as the political platform from which to create, employing repetitive, often labor intensive processes that have roots in traditional metalsmithing. While Toan primarily work with steel wire, he is in the process of incorporating new materials to help move past the static object, promoting movement and interaction with the viewer. Much of Toan’s work is drawn from a constant desire to access, affect or create community. With this in mind, his aim is to maintain a critical lens on the complexities, complications, and intersections of communities. Queerness is a large part of his work, aesthetically, materially, and conceptually. As a genderqueer/transgender artist, navigating this identity (and others) is a constant process for Toan. The often messy ways that identities and bodies converge is a constant undercurrent. Thus far, this desire for connection has manifested in a series of interactive sculptures. His goal is for participants to interact with each other through the sculpture, thus creating some kind of unexpected connection. Each of the pieces are created through the repetition of small structural cells, compounding on each other to ‘grow’ scaffolding systems. These systems then restrict or facilitate touch.