Frances Thomas: The Broader Picture

Peter Robertson Gallery, Edmonton, AB -

by Michael Turner
With the 21st century nearing the end of what can only be described as a difficult adolescence, it is not surprising that, in this age of emotional intelligence, we have developed gentler, more inclusive ways to express our relationship to recent non-representational painting. Gone are bullying pejoratives like “crapstraction” and “Zombie Formalism”; in their place, we have expansive descriptors like “visual poetry” – what Frances Thomas might be alluding to in her current exhibition, The Broader Picture.
Born in Parry Sound, Ontario, and a resident of Barrie, Thomas completed BFA and MFA degrees at York University and has participated in residencies in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland; Triangle Arts in Brooklyn, New York; and in Berlin, Germany. Though her more recent acrylics are reminiscent of painters Paterson Ewen, Mary Heilmann, Raoul De Keyser and Elizabeth McIntosh in colour, line and form, they are distinctly her own, evoking landscape and portraiture less through fi gurative gestures than through atmospheric conditions such as mood.
“I am a painter and printmaker in pursuit of images that are newly strange and exciting, and that feel real,” writes Thomas in her artist statement. “By real I mean that in each work the media, in its material substance and direction, and the image that arrives through an iterative process, resolve into a container of emotional content. Art can be a vehicle of relation and connection; in fact, I am relying heavily on that as my pathway to intimate connections with others. So much of human interaction today has to do with competing and fleeting attention(s)[,] and what many of us want is to feel genuine connection.”

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