5 - 23 May 2005
about the exhibition
Graham Fransella is a painter and printmaker who works with intuition, allowing any perceived meaning to emerge after the work is done. Strong black strokes trace the outlines of figures, so stripped of detail they become symbolic, reminiscent of pictograms or graffiti. In the absence of any guiding narrative, the temptation is to read these primitive or naive figures as “self”, which sets up the fundamental but possibly endless discussion about what it is to be human. Reduced to outlines, these “bodies” allow the earthy textural backgrounds to flow through, giving them a transience and often blurring the boundaries between landscape and figure. In his introduction to “Graham Fransella: Figures and Landscapes”, Edmund Capon, the current Director of the Art Gallery of NSW, writes “What his paintings do have is an echoing sense of absence; of a figure that once was there but is no more and yet it’s mysterious presence still lurks on the surface of the canvas”. The prints and paintings work on many levels without being contrived, they are spontaneous, gestural works, with any interpretation left entirely up to the viewer. Fransella’s charismatic mark-making is the distillation of several decades of draughtsmanship, what at first appear to be simple lines and primitive figures are also sophisticated, multi-layered abstractions on the cutting-edge of contemporary Australian art practice.
Graham Fransella studied art in London at Isleworth Polytechnic and the Bradford School of Art. His first solo exhibition was in Melbourne in 1978 and, since then, he has had over forty solo shows across Australia as well as in Germany and the United Kingdom. He has been exhibiting with Beaver Galleries since 1993, including four solo exhibitions and representation at the Melbourne Art Fair (formerly ACAF) in 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2004. His work has been selected for the Archibald, Wynne, Sulman and Dobell Drawing Prizes at the Art Gallery of NSW and, in 2000, he won the Trustees Watercolour Prize. Graham’s work is represented in many public collections including the National Gallery of Australia; National Gallery of Victoria; Queensland Art Gallery; Parliament House, Canberra; Print Council of Australia and Artbank.