A new exhibit at the Bowery Gallery in NYC, “Rock, Paper, Scissors” features recent collages by artist, Stephanie L. Franks. The dates of the show are April 26 – May 21.
Franks has long been a painter, but her new body of work is focused on collage. This change of medium came about during a long process of healing from back surgery. As is often the case, a really committed, determined artist will discover a new expressive voice during such adversity.
Little Green, Collage, 4″ x 3 1/2″
Of this recent work, Franks states, “In some ways these collages feel more authentically me than anything I’ve done”. She says that the physicality of collage materials has allowed her to work from a deep inner place. “It is often like memories of being five years old and rapturously playing in the sandbox in my kindergarten playground”.
Untitled , collage, 9″ x 8″
Color has always been at the heart of Franks’ work. She says that it was color and line that hooked her into being an artist in the first place. At Queens College, where she earned her MFA, Franks took a seminar on Bonnard with Louis Finkelstein. While in that class she loved making intimate color studies inspired by the colors of Bonnard.
Bonnard , “Dining Room in The Country”
Finkelstein used to describe Bonnard’s color as “appetitious.” This word perfectly describes Franks’ celebratory experience of color.
Gypsy Dance, 8 1/4″ x 6″
Stephanie Franks says the inspiration for the collage, “Gypsy Dance” was a captivating flamenco concert she attended. Back in the studio she found the shapes she needed for making a piece of artwork inspired by the performance; they had been cut weeks before, on hold for the right time, ready and waiting. The resulting artwork weaves rhythmic intervals of shape and space which echo the experience of the flamenco dance and music.
Chance is important in Franks process. She says, “Intention sometimes gets in my way.” She admits, that while she is making the collages she doesn’t know where the work will lead, “ So”, she states, “ I let it take me” . She may ask herself, “Does this random combination of shapes, colors, visual textures, relationships sit right with me? “ When she “comes up for air’ she answers her own question, “Sometimes I like the unexpected even harsh combinations of colors that come together in the artwork”.
Cats Cradle , 9″ x 6″
People refer to Franks’ collages as jewels, small gems with radiant color .
Open Door, mixed media collage, 8 1/4″ x 6″
530 West 25th street, 4th floor,
Gallery hours: Tues-Sat 11-6pm. For more information, call 646-230-6655.
Diane Drescher ——–