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August 29, 2023 - September 26, 2023

Frances McCormack: Above and Below

“I am almost never satisfied with a painting until it has surprised me in some way, and probably after working on it for long while, weeks or months sometimes…This happens when the image I am chasing on the canvas suddenly suggests another direction—color, orientation even—and it is so compelling I am willing to undo weeks of work to try to integrate this upstart outlier, this strange event.” – Frances McCormack

Frances McCormack is a Professor Emerita of Painting at the San Francisco Art Institute who’s work as an abstract painter draws on the history of gardens and landscape design. Her paintings are invented spaces or interior theaters that are essentially images of the process of growth and transformation within a contained space. She has sought out these spaces or walled gardens in Rome at the Villa d’Este and Villa Lante, at the Alhambra in Spain, the Topkai Palace in Istanbul, in Mexico at the houses of the architect Luis Barragan, or Santa Barbara at Ganna Walska’s LotusLand. These places provide a container where the urgency and noise of everyday obligations fall away and the visitor has access to other dimensions of thought and feeling.

Combining architectural elements and loosely interpreted botanical forms, the paintings and collages hold a range of energies reflected through the natural world. Lush paint, the physicality of the execution and the history of decisions are obvious and unapologetically optical. More interested in seduction than instruction or critique she is in pursuit of the marvelous.

McCormack was born in Boston and received her MFA from the University of California at Berkeley. She was the recipient of the first SFAI faculty residency at the American Academy in Rome, three Buck Foundation individual artists grants, a Djerassi residency and Willapa Bay Air residency. In 2012 the video she produced for the multi-media work, Artifacts, is a collaboration with the composer Kurt Rohde and writer Sue Moon which premiered at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She curated the exhibition Silence, Exile and Cunning for the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art in 2010. Her artist talk, Wonder and Limitation, can be viewed on youtube. McCormack is represented by the R.B. Stevenson Gallery in La Jolla CA and at Gilman Contemporary in Sun Valley, ID.


August 29, 2023
September 26, 2023
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Gilman Contemporary
661 Sun Valley Rd
Sun Valley,Idaho83353United States
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