Open Sesame: Art, Books and Objects

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March 16 - May 6, 2018: Frances Ferdinands - Exotic Landscapes

Friday March 16 – Saturday May 6, 2018

Reception and artist talk: Saturday, April 7, 2018, 2 – 5 PM

Frances Ferdinands, Coiled, acrylic on canvas, 2017, 30” x 30”, framed. Photo courtesy the artist.

Artist’s Statement

During my thirty-plus years as an exhibiting artist, philosophical, political, environmental, social, and spiritual concerns have dominated my practice, which is constantly evolving. Since the early 2000s, my work has incorporated elements of my Sri Lankan heritage. In 2015 and 2017, I received two Ontario Arts Council grants to return to my homeland to study traditional arts and crafts, including temple mural painting, bobbin lace making, and mask making. I intended to revitalize these old forms through reinterpretation within a contemporary context.

Focusing on the rich history of Buddhist temple painting—specifically, floral motifs and repeat patterning—and delving beyond the purely ornamental allowed me to explore the place of beauty and spirituality within conflict as well the lasting legacies of colonialism and commerce. Within this context, beauty becomes a form of resistance.

My recent work is a meditation on the paradoxes between conflict and tranquility, calamity and splendour, the sacred and the profane.

In amalgamating Western and South Asian concepts, belief systems, and visual languages, I speak from the “in-between” of varied social and cultural realities. The resulting works reflect my hybridity as a Sri Lankan-born Canadian, who sees from a perspective somewhere between the latitudes of Colombo and Toronto.

Biography

Frances Ferdinands (b. Colombo, Sri Lanka) has presented her work in solo and group exhibitions for more than three decades across Canada and in the United States, and as far afield as Paris and Bogotà. Largely based in Toronto, she is the recipient of many Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council artist grants. Her paintings are held in private, corporate, and museum collections—including that of the Royal Ontario Museum—and she won the Royal Canadian Mint competitions to design the 2017 Diwali and the 2018 multicultural commemorative coins.

Ferdinands holds a visual arts degree from York University, an AR.C.T. (Piano) from the Royal Conservatory of Music, and a degree in education from the University of Toronto. As a young art student, she coedited Eclectic Eve (Coach House Press), a critically acclaimed collection of more than fifty interviews with Toronto women artists. Her paintings are featured in the art books Rethinking Acrylic and Acrylic Innovation (Northlight Press).

 

Works Available

A Confluence of Events
Acrylic on Watercolour paper
24 x 18 inches framed
2018


Celestial Naga
Acrylic on Canvas
48 x 24 inches framed
2017 

Coiled
Acrylic on Canvas
30 x 30 inches framed
2017

Noddy Tours The Empire
Acrylic on Watercolour Paper
19 x 26 inches framed
2018

Pinocchio Dangles
Acrylic on Watercolour Paper
24 x 18 inches framed
2018

 

Punch Encounters
Acrylic on Watercolour Paper
24 x 18 inches framed
2018

 

Ribbon Cloud, Flowering Moon
Acrylic on Canvas
20 x 40 inches framed
2017

Snakin’
Acrylic on Canvas
30 x 30 inches framed
2017

Shrine to Rococco
Acrylic on Watercolour Paper
24 x 18 inches framed
2016


Shrine to Belle Epoque
Acrylic on Watercolour Paper
24 x 18 inches framed
2016

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