Sherie' Franssen

The Gorgeous Nothings
December 11, 2014 — January 31, 2015

Poems on the floor, 2014 I Oil I 45 x 41 inches
Poems on the floor, 2014 I Oil I 45 x 41 inches

Dolby Chadwick Gallery is pleased to announce The Gorgeous Nothings, an exhibition of new paintings by southern California artist Sherie’ Franssen. Franssen has long been preoccupied by abstraction’s power to interrogate the contours of our world, fragmenting and reordering them so as to distill something essential about that world and our experiences within it. This body of work pushes Franssen’s interest in fragmentation—both as an aesthetic and emotional condition—to a new level. Empty spaces and larger areas of color “evoke a little resting space” and allow for moments of pause and reflection that are hinted at but not always evident in earlier works.

These moments are presented in different ways in different paintings. The broader, heavier, slower-moving gestures that curl around and over fields of color in Turn Blue (2014)—which is itself largely coded in shades of indigo, violet, and lilac—conjure a sense of melancholy, even loss.  But it’s a soft melancholy that unexpectedly works to hearten, soothe, and lift the viewer up, as evidenced by A Catch in the Breath (2014), which begins to the jostle the pieces back into place, creating an experience that Franssen likens to emerging from a fog. These pieces, however, always remain slightly askew; this is done not to frustrate but to inspire and preserve a sense of infinite possibility. In these works, Franssen is like a poet jotting down brief observations on random fragments of paper—gorgeous nothings of the Dickinsonian variety—about our world and our lives, which are themselves inescapably fragmented.

Moments of pause also structure forms that allude, though very subtly, to the human figure in paintings such as The Summer Went (2014). This and other works, which can be thought of as “bather paintings,” reflect an interest in “the evocative, mutable, and transformational nature” that inhabits the blue paintings. Inspired by Max Beckmann’s, Joan Brown’s, David Park’s, Paul Cézanne’s, and Ernst Kirchner’s bathers, Franssen’s own bathers are imbricated within shifting compositional forms and exuberant splashes of color, which produce vivid allusions to the vibrancy of nature. Such fragmentation facilitates the melding of body and environment, opening up new ways of understanding fullness, presence, and being.

Born in Torrance, California, in 1952, Sherie’ Franssen earned her BFA in Drawing and Painting from California State University, Long Beach, in 1999. Her work has been exhibited in museums across the country and was selected by Peter Selz for inclusion in the 2011 show HEADS at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery. Franssen has been reviewed in The San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Art Ltd., and New American Paintings. This will be Franssen’s fifth solo show at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery.