Anne Francey’s observation of the natural world has always been the point of departure in her clay work, evolving into a constant oscillation between representation and abstraction, organic shapes and geometric order, what's being shown and what's being hidden. Whether starting from a flower, a twig, an insect or a moss. Francey simplifies and flattens their shapes, blurring their visual identity in order to reveal a hidden meaning. Of her work, the artist states, “Could these abstracted forms of insects and plants, hardened for ever in the fired clay, become imprints of the past one day, like fossils of a bygone era?” Anne Francey currently resides in Saratoga Springs, New York.
click on image for an enlargement, price, size and medium.
The Tile like ceramic pieces are to be hung on a wall like paintings. The relationship between geometric patterns and various configurations reflects on our need to find meaning in the events that shape our lives. But while geometric designs inevitably incorporate the unpredictable nature of the hand and fire that modeled it, more organic shapes strive to find a semblance of order.
The Scroll series are a reflection on time passing and time to come: one day, our present will inevitably become the past. Is it also possible that what inspired these images and has now been permanently hardened onto the clay’s surface will be part of the past? Will nature or some manifestation of nature as we know it, exist only as fossils imprinted in a rock?
Anne Francey was born in 1956 in Grandson, Switzerland. She attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne (ECBA) from 1976 to 1981, where she received a diploma of Fine Arts in painting. In 1981, she moved to New York where she attended the School of Visual Arts and the graduate program of Fine Arts at Hunter College. She graduated in 1987 with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA).
After art school, Francey found herself living in Manhattan where her creativity reflected a very structured, urban setting. A longstanding fascination with geometry, Francey took to painting architectural cityscapes that dominated the backdrop of her early American experience. However, having spent her childhood in Switzerland where it is virtually impossible to escape both the vastness and nuances of nature, she couldn’t help but indulge her curiosity in the unpredictability of nature, even within a metropolitan context. For example, smoke curling out of a window, a flower pushing up through the sidewalk, etc offered a variable whose intention cannot be planned.
Around this time nearly 25 years ago, Anne Francey began traveling frequently to Tunisia. It is here that she discovered the ceramic tiles used in Islamic decoration of houses and interiors. This aesthetic began to influence her style more and more, until her paintings took on a very textured and ceramic feel. She went on in 2009 to spend a year at the National Center of Ceramics in Tunisia as an artist in residence where her she continued to improve her skill and further develop a taste for color. She experimented with different methods varying from Raku technique, which is most common in Japanese pottery used for tea ceremonies, to other methods more common in the Middle East.
The prevalence of both nature and geometry in Islamic art both inspired and offered Francey a new way to explore the freeness of organic shapes within her work. The ceramic Scrolls series (2005-2012) is a reflection on both time passing and time to come; our present will inevitably become the past. Her most recent series, Of Birds and Geometry (2012-2013), show the relationship between geometric patterns and various configurations that reflects on our need to find meaning in the events that shape our lives. Organic shapes strive to find a semblance of order, but still inevitably incorporate the unpredictable nature of the hand and fire that modeled it.
Her career as an artist has inspired another facet of her life. 1001 Tiles is a ceramic workshop Anne Francey designed for children in elementary schools across the Capitol region. Since receiving her first grant in 1999, Francey has worked with hundreds of children on community murals that show how each child is different and unique. Her goal is to prove to each student how remarkable their personal style truly is, even when juxtaposed next to another child’s piece. While the idea for these community projects stems from her own aesthetic, Francey finds that this experience has been wildly fulfilling and shaped her into a leader and organizer, giving sense to the larger visual design of each mural. She finds that this translates to her own work as well, and as a result is able to make artistic choices more quickly.
Anne Francey currently lives in Saratoga, NY. While she continues to travel to Tunisia, she incorporates her Middle Eastern aesthetic with the nature that now surrounds her in Saratoga. Inspired by bits of nature she collects during morning walks, these mini meditations start with small objects that lead her to reflect on larger scale issues, which becomes quite prevalent in her work.
1983-1987 Hunter College: MFA , New York
1981-1982 School of Visual Arts: painting, video, 16 MM , New York
1976-1981 ECBA, Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne , Diplôme de Beaux-Arts, Painting/Video, Lausanne, Switzerland
2012 Dietel Gallery, Emma Willard School, Troy, NY
Laffer Gallery, Group show, Schuylerville, NY
2010 Hyde Museum, Mohawk Hudson Regional, Glens Falls, NY
2009 El Borj Gallery, la Marsa/Tunis, Tunisia
Farenheit, Carthage, Tunisia
2007 Gallery 100, “Significantly small”, Saratoga Springs, NY
2006 Carrie Haddad Gallery, 3 persons show, Hudson, NY
2006 Gallery 100, “Significantly small”, Saratoga Springs, NY
2005 Fileflanz Gallery, “2 persons show” Albany, NY
2005 Haddad Lascano Gallery, “Still life” Great Barrington, Ma
2004 Mandeville Gallery “From an observant nature”, 3 persons show , Union College, Schenectady NY
2004 Schenectady Museum “Mohawk Hudson regional”,
2003 Schick Gallery, “Visiting Faculty exhibition”, Saratoga Springs, NY
2003 Carrie Haddad Gallery, “Botanica”, group show, Hudson, NY
2003 The Arts Center Gallery, “3-person show” Saratoga Springs, NY
2002 Gallery 100, “Garden show” group show, Saratoga Springs, NY
2000 Arac, “Anne Francey-Renée Duc”, 2 persons show, Vallorbe, Switzerland
1999 Lake George Arts Project, "Artists invite artists", Lake George, NY
1998 Sioux City Arts Center, “Working space, selections from the
Bemis Center for Contemporary Art”, Sioux City, Iowa
1998 Carrie Haddad Gallery, “Geoffrey Detrani, Anne Francey,
Joseph Kurhajec”, 3 persons show, Hudson, NY
1998 Sion Fine Arts Museum, “Saxifrage, Désespoir du peintre”,
1997 Lake George Arts Projects, “Made in Tunisia”, solo show,
Lake George, NY
1997 Albany Center Gallery, solo show, Albany,NY
1997 Mille-Feuilles Gallery , solo show, la Marsa/Tunis, Tunisia
1997 Fribourg Art & History Museum, “Saxifrage, Swiss painters”,
1996 Jennish Museum, Alice Bailly Foundation 50th anniversary,
1996 Case Gallery, Skidmore College, “Skidmore Women Faculty
Exhibition”, National Women’s Studies Association Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY
1995 Urban Cultural Park, curator of "Compositions" a collaboration/artists/composers, S.Spgs, NY
1995 Lake George Arts Project, "From the Lake & Beyond", Lake George, NY
1995 Valley Artisans Market, "Abstractions & Subtractions", solo show, Cambridge, NY
1994 Sage College Gallery, "Wet Paint", Troy, NY
1992 The Albany Biennial, "Interplay 92", Rice Gallery, Albany NY
1989 The Bemis Gallery, solo show, Omaha, Nebraska
1989 Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, "In Residence", 15 Artists From The Bemis Foundation, Lincoln, Nebraska
1988 John Michael Kohler Art Center, "Hothouse" exhibition, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
GRANTS, FELLOWSHIPS AND RESIDENCIES
2009 Sidi Kacem El Jelizi, National Center for Ceramic Art, Tunis, Tunisia, artist residency
2000-2011 NYSCA Arts in Education Initiative grants for the creation of collaborative ceramic murals in schools
2005 “Creative Connections” AIE, Loudonville, NY
1999 SPAF, New York State Council on the Arts, “Faces, faces and more…faces”, a community project involving hundreds of participants
1995 SPAF, New York State Council on the Arts,
"Compositions", collaborative work between artists and composers
1989 Fellowship AWS Bemis Foundation, Omaha, Nebraska
1988 National Artist Grant, Switzerland
1987 Fellowship , AWS Bemis Foundation, Omaha, Nebraska artist residency
1987 Award, Sommerville Art Price, Hunter College, New York
1983 Artist’s Grant, Young Artists of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
1982 Artist’s Grant, Foundation Alice Bailly, Lausanne, Switzerland
1981 Professional advancement Grant, Business Professional Women and Zonta Club, Switzerland
Painting Award, Association de Peintres et Sculpteurs, Lausanne, Switzerland
2010-2012 Empire State College, Saratoga Spgs, NY, Introduction to Studio Art,
Islamic art and decorative Ceramic design
1998- 2013 Skidmore College, Saratoga Spgs, NY, Studio Art, lecturer
2008 Bennington College, workshop on grant writing and application
1997- 12 Mural projects: Artist in residence in public schools
1998 Figure drawing SCAC Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
1991- 98 Figure drawing, Special Programs, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
1992 French 20th Century-contemporary Art, Skidmore College Summer Program, Paris, France
1987- 88 Studio Art, New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, Summit, New Jersey