My art, whether flat, relief or three-dimensional, has always had a similar goal, and that is to be intriguing. I will do everything in my power to set up a visual stage for the viewer to want to walk into. So I use only elements of design that increase the perceived and physical depth of the work such as form, perspective tools, contrast, and texture, in hopes of capturing the viewer’s attention. Only then can I proceed to the final challenge which is to give the viewer something worth contemplating.
For the last four years I have left the comfortable world of art teaching, commercial art, commissions and model building, to enter into a love affair involving subject matter I am passionate about and materials that I am intimate with. This does not always make for living room art!
The subject of “Human nature” with all of its complexities seems to end up being the theme for a lot of my work. Even when I stray from that obsession in order to explore a pure aesthetic, my efforts often evolve into a visual commentary on the interactions of life and its quirks. Conscious of this, I try not to impede the outcome of the work with too many other conformities. So size, subject matter and visual presentation is beautifully endless.
After years of making a living at producing someone else’s artistic visions, it’s good to finally be free!
Frances Usher has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture and Painting and a Bachelor of Education in Visual Arts, both from Queens University. After leaving the classroom, she opened up her own studio as an artist for hire from 1994 to 2012. During this time, she was involved with many municipal, corporate and private commissions involving themed works both sculptural and flat. As a result, she has worked in a variety of materials such as metal, stone, concrete, glass, resin, as well as oils, acrylic, watercolour and many dry mediums.
With her family all grown, Fran’s commitment to exhibiting her work has taken on a much more prevalent role. Her continued involvement in local arts councils and municipal galleries, has given her a chance to exercise her educational background and to promote art awareness community wide.
Studio Tour, Gabriola Island, 2019-21
Solo Show, SCA gallery, Port Perry, Ont. 2018
Lake Scugog Studio Tour, May 2017
Juried Membership Show, Station Gallery, Whitby, Ont. 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012
Scugog Arts Council, membership show, 2016, 2015, 2014
Blossom Festival, Group art show, Hy Hope Farms 2016, 2015
Pineridge Arts Council, juried membership show, McLean Centre, Award of Excellence, 2014
Pineridge Arts Council, juried membership show, McLean Centre, Pickering, Ont. 2013
Silverstone Gallery, P.A.C. membership show, Pickering, Ont. 2013
McLaughlin Art Gallery, O.A.A. juried exhibition, honourable mention 2013
A.A.C., group shows, local exhibits in Brooklin and area 2011-12
McLaughlin Art Gallery, O.A.A. juried exhibition, honourable mention 1994
2014 Pineridge Arts Council, Juried Exhibition, Pickering, Award of Excellence
2013 McLaughlin Art Gallery, OAA, Juried Exhibition, Oshawa, honourable mention
1994 McLaughlin Art Gallery, OAA, Juried Exhibition, Oshawa, honourable mention
Pineridge Arts Council "ArtScene" Dec. 2016, profile column by Allan O'Marra
Brooklin Town Crier, various group show profile articles as a member of A.A.C. 2011-12
Whitby Free Press, “Artist, Teacher and Mother” “, 2001
Visual Artist: Studio practice
client-initiated art projects: sculpture, painting, drawing
Commercial Art: graphic designer, architectural drawings
Topographic 3-d Scale Models for Engineering Firms
Teaching Sabbatical: Baden, Switzerland, studying national works of Hodler, Giacometti, Gutmann and Chagall’s stained glass windows, Fraumunster Church, Zurich
Art Education presentations and Curriculum writing.
Visual Arts Teacher, Durham Board of Education, Waterloo Board of Education
Memberships (art related)
Ladysmith Arts Council
Nanaimo Arts Council
Gabriola Arts Council, 2018-19
Pineridge Arts Council, 2012-16
Scugog Arts Council, 2013-16