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Frankie Toan: Strange Familiars

Exhibition Details

Frankie Toan: Strange Familiars presents the last six years of work by Denver-based artist Frankie Toan (they/them/theirs). In their large-scale soft sculptures, Toan stitches together investigations of plants, bodies, queerness, ecosystems, and the interconnectedness of all things. The exhibition is installed as a “Queer Garden,” a space that is celebratory and playful, with bright colors, a fantastical sense of scale, and materials like fringe, sequins, and lively prints. In this garden, Toan imagines more equitable and collaborative association between humans and their environment. They present a world in which the most radical notions of gender and relationship can flourish. Toan reconsiders what constitutes a “family,” and elevates the values of collective nourishment and reciprocal care.

Based in Denver, Frankie Toan is an artist working mostly with craft and DIY materials and techniques to create large plush sculptures, interactive works, immersive installations, and public art. Frankie has participated in many group shows and collaborations nationwide. Recent projects include “Finger Dome,” a room in Meow Wolf Denver’s Convergence Station, and “Public Body”, an art installation for "Between Us Alleys," a public art intervention project in downtown Denver. They have had residencies at RedLine Contemporary Art Center and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, among other places. Toan holds a BFA in Craft/Material studies from Virginia Commonwealth University, with a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s studies.

In conjunction with Strange Familiars, we have collaborated with the Missouri Botanical Garden. In the Craft Alliance Creative Commons, visitors can explore a selection of plant materials from the garden’s collection that have historically been used to dye or make paper. According to Craft Alliance’s deputy director, Jennifer Scanlan, the partnership will tie into Toan’s work by examining the intersection of plants and creativity.