Frances McCormack Resonates

Frances McCormack Resonates

Some people just figure it out, and painter Frances McCormack (presently exhibiting at PMA) is one of them. The question is, can one create paintings that touch all levels of the human experience (dark, light, and all that entangled spectrum in-between) and ultimately uplift the viewer’s spirit with symphonic resonance. McCormack’s expert use of paint, line and abstract conceptual form does just this.

In "Stems" McCormack utilizes contrasting solid form and outlined form to create a sense of the passage of time or awareness. 

Superficially the art is so balanced in form and nature-based hues that one thinks all is relaxed and sublime. It is when we look further into the complexity of the design that we understand that there is an underlying shadow which once upon a time demanded a counter overlay of light, and when applied, enabled the balance to occur in the first place.

Where does the shadow come from? Is it simply the artist’s intellectual understanding of aesthetic properties? My guess is that it is something more meaningful… perhaps a deep understanding of the snarly path that is human existence. If so, McCormack has a way of untangling the tangles and yet, at the same time, leaving them in with such style that we delight in the twists and turns. 

In this detail from "Self-Portrait 2015" we see how McCormack creates mood through the use of geometric and organic shapes and lighting contrasts.

My only issue with the installation is that I came away wanting to see more. Meanwhile, as the show progresses I’ll put my nose to the canvases and study the McComack use of paint, line, shade, and abstract symbolism. There is so much to learn here. (This Museum exhibition continues through January 8, 2017.)


“PAI on My Mind” contains the personal observations of the artist in Studio 26, and not necessarily those of PAI as a whole.


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