Frances studied English Literature and Art History before teaching for a year in Italy where she fell in love with design. A graduate of Environmental Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Frances worked in architectural offices since from 2003-2012. Currently, she is faculty at OCADU in Environmental Design. She is a partner at Necessary Arts Company, a coworking space for creatives in downtown Guelph Ontario, where she paints. As a lifetime doodler in watercolour, Frances made the switch to acrylic and oil in 2013. Sometimes described as dream-like, her pieces depict people engaged in pastimes and imagined landscapes. Reality and fantasy mingle as simplified forms and amplified colours. Her work is represented by Canvas Gallery and Art Interiors in Toronto, Ontario.
My work is either figurative or abstract landscape. Though seemingly disparate, the common subject is imagined memory, either of a place or a moment. Future, past, and fantasy have equal weight.
I struggle with how to represent the often contradictory emotions of adulthood and aging. How to show levity and prettiness, as well as remorse and longing? Which one is youthful and which maturity? Why is play reserved for youth? And how does etiquette script when and where it is appropriate to be playful? In response, I paint moments I wish for, in all their made up beauty, and without the constraint of realism.
I think of my work as an imagined world of play or polite rebellion. I assert that play is a meaningful pursuit: a non-productive, undirected and unscripted moment is both fleeting and long-lasting fulfillment. I want to evoke a response of yearning in the viewer via either self-identification in a memory gone, or remorse for never having chosen that moment of mild rebellion.
My paintings offer minimalist expanses of space with few props, focusing on a glimmer of defiance: areas of white, blurred edges, obscured portions and small details in saturated colour. Illustrative graphite and wax pencil lines lend the finished work a looseness and playful quality. Pieces range from small 3x4” portraits to 3’ by 5’ landscapes, all in oil paint.
My own affinity for stylized fashion functions as nostalgia for the a time long gone - the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies - and that nostalgia is a framework for the viewer's own longing for their lost opportunity: the dress never worn, the freedom never felt or the slice of cake not eaten.
My current projects “Rebels” is a series of portraits of women in moments of small rebellion, most frequently, blowing bubblegum.