Webster’s dictionary defines the phrase “in unison” as: in perfect accord; corresponding exactly. Art is a personal expression coming from the heart, mind and soul. In this rare case of two intimate artists, what emerges from their working together, whether individually rendered or a combination of thought, compliments one another.
His face shows the effects of stress and a troubled life. He is not old, yet you can clearly see the harsh elements; he is aged beyond his years. His hands are tense, almost cat like, even the hand under his chin is tense, not relaxed at all and ready to act. He is squatting and resting on the balls of his feet. He is not just getting ready, but always ready. His look is one of consternation and determination, with much pride and dignity.
When asked to describe the philosophical approach to their art, Franks says, “In conceptual art, the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. The part of this art that is not understood is the painful part - the idea.” Samuel Beckett said, “Suffering is the main condition of the artistic experience.” And so it is with Frank and Lally’s work. Each piece of their unified work has a vivid story. Painstakingly, thousands of hours of thought-time and conversation are invested. When finishing a creation it’s akin to giving birth, as months of careful planning, attention, and excitement finally becomes a reality. Creating new ideas is the life force of the artist. To be successful, another and better idea must be conceived, created, and presented to a world of clients expecting something more creative than the artist’s previous work.
Rutherford wrote the North Carolina Council of Safety saying that nothing less than a scorched earth policy would suffice in eviscerating the Cherokee threat. The Cherokee Expedition of 1776, the largest rifle campaign in American history to that time, placed some 6,000 militiamen from the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia in the field and executed a near simultaneous military campaign against the Cherokee. William Whitley was among them. His strap could likely be a trophy from this campaign. Frank’s gun exemplifies arms carried by these riflemen.
This work of art stands as an icon for an important time in America’s history. The rifle, with its sculptured lines and texture of its sling, evokes images of 18th century life that brings to mind visions of a fascinating journey into two worlds fighting for the same principles, but unwilling to share the same land.
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Article by By Mel Hankla. Mel is a charter member of the Contemporary Longrifle Association and a noted collector of House brothers rifles, tomahawks and knives. Hankla has worked with the Kentucky Humanities Council as a Chautauqua-Living History Character portraying Simon Kenton and George Rogers Clark since 1995. He also portrays Kentucky’s first governor, Isaac Shelby and Benjamin Franklin in other venues. A noted writer, he has contributed articles to many publications. Visit his website www.americanhistoricservices.com to learn more.
Reprinted by permission of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association/ Muzzle Blasts magazine, April, 2009. For information on the NMLRA and other black powder topics please visit their website at www.nmlra.org