Frances Baskerville at the Martin Batchelor Gallery Aug 29-Sept 30, 2015
Opening with artist in attendance Saturday August 29, 7-9pm
Frances graduated from the Fine Arts Program at Victoria College of Art in 2000. Her previous careers included education, librarianship and public service. Since graduation, Fran has exhibited in many solo, group and juried art shows in the Pacific Northwest. She received the Herbert Siebner Practicing Artist Award in 2005. Her public art commissions grace Royal Athletic Park and Gordon Head Recreation Centre. Her artwork is represented by Madrona Gallery in Victoria.
Fran’s wealth of life experience lends a passionate intensity to her artworks. Her large scale, acrylic paintings focus on the drama of being human. They spotlight tumultuous emotions and intense experiences. In recurring themes, her subjects struggle with tension and strive for release. Moments of deliverance are fleeting, illusive and precious. The artist’s concern about personal freedom moves into the political arena in several exhibition paintings. A member of a human rights group, she personalizes the plight of the Palestinian people.
These two paintings depict the beauty, then the burning, of Palestinian olive orchards during a land-use conflict.
Above right, the conflagration erupts with strong reds and blues representing fire and smoke. A human presence is noted by a single figure dangerously close to the inferno. “The olive branch is a symbol of peace,” she says, “so it is heartbreaking to view the loss.”
Above left, Baskerville painted the ancient trees with their gnarled trunks and silvery leaves from photos.
She enlivens the rustling foliage with spontaneous brushwork and a lively palette of umber, yellow and green.
“The orchards were a joy to paint,” she says. The deep reddish soil offers a striking contrast to the shining mottled canopy.
Post-graduation, the artist continues to critique and create in artist groups. For one year, she attended a weekly master class conducted by Paul Peregal to further her expressionist approach. During a recent trip to Vienna, Baskerville admired originals by German expressionist painters Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele. Before painting Nothing to Lose, Peregal advised Baskerville to do many energetic charcoal sketches to capture the menacing mood of the bulldozer. The resulting image is ominous, and hovers over the young boy throwing stones with monstrous intensity. The monumental machine, loosely painted in mechanical, sombre hues, confronts the viewer. Expressionist paintings like Nothing to Lose don’t supply all the details, explains Peregal, they merely suggest meaning and content. “The viewer is allowed to imagine and ruminate,” he says, “which lifts illustrative practice into the realm of fine art.”
One of Baskerville’s daughters is a talented professional dancer who serves as model and muse to the artist.
Comments and photos of guests at the Opening reception on Saturday August 29, 7-9pm
Frances Baskerville welcomes your comments and questions about her artwork and sales.
Contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org
The Martin Batchelor Gallery is located at 712 Cormorant Street, Victoria.
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