Award winning American painter Audrey Francis began her artistic career with fine art studies at Syracuse University (BFA) followed by a residency at the Nantucket Island School of Design and the Arts, Massachusetts. Francis has taught painting at SUNY, New Paltz and design at Dutchess Community College. Formally trained as an illustrator, the artist’s established practice includes oil painting, collage, sculpture, and textile art. In her evocative paintings and mixed media works, Francis uses a sequence of motifs seemingly taken from deeply personal and mysterious iconography and pairs these with flat planes of color and pattern.
Early work included hyper-realistic drapery studies and nudes and a series of pictures concerned with the tradition of Latin saints. Experiments with collage evolved into neo-surrealist works depicting fantastic interiors. These paintings such as Family Court remind one of the strange worlds of painters like Neo Rausch, but with a difference. Works like Innocent take this aesthetic further in a dizzying trompe l'oeil composition. Using oil medium as well as pastel, Francis’ photo-realist effect of light and drapery creates an illuminated sculptural study of figure, fabric, and space. Conversely, flatness is a guiding principal in the collage series and the most recent paintings. In these works, negative space is paired with figural and abstract patterning in bright hues.
Conceptually, much of the artist’s work explores not only her own Latina heritage but also the gendered language of the body, reflected in the corpulent body series. These paintings challenge notions of beauty, sexuality and the idea of gaze while remaining deeply engaged in sensuality and the experience of paint.
Overall, Francis’ diverse oeuvre is distinguished throughout by an exhilarating command of color. In her most recent works, the inversion of space and the juxtaposition of realism with abstraction reveal an ever-evolving interest in experimentation seen in her 2014 painting collage Rabbit, Tricks are for kids. Francis continually reworks her technical process, building on atelier training and style, all the while exploring genres and the respective limits and potential for subversion.
Francis holds her MFA, SUNY, New Paltz and is the recipient of various awards and honors, the most recent including the Research and Creative Projects Award, SUNY, 2006; The Joan Mitchell Award Nomination, 2006 and the Barrett Art Center Award, Poughkeepsie, New York, 2001.
The artist has participated in over fifty exhibitions and her work may be found in private and corporate collections worldwide including the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, New York.