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The Campus Gallery at Georgian College is pleased to present an exhibition by Frances Thomas

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Pieces Left Behind, 2018, 45x45 cm, acrylic on panel.

Frances Thomas: Laying it Bare
Curated by Carol-Ann Ryan

September 20 – October 19, 2018
Reception: September 20, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

I am sitting out here in the ether… creating painted spaces of incident, human fragility, pain and joy, all the things it means to be human.
– Frances Thomas

Laying It Bare comprises recent paintings by Frances Thomas, all produced in her downtown Barrie studio. While some of her imagery is derived from her upbringing on Georgian Bay and her residence in Simcoe County, her perspective and training are international. Her bright canvases and energetic brush strokes draw the viewer in, while the paint itself pushes towards the edge, often bursting off the surface. These qualities in her paintings are like the artist herself, who is known for her fluency in the language of art, gregarious personality, and unparalleled hugs.

Over the past several months Thomas has produced new work continuing her exploration of painting’s potential to express ideas and emotions through the loaded vernacular of abstraction. Her ongoing research has led to this moment where use of shape and colour is confident and deliberate yet varied. Whether she lets line and drawing sparingly do the work or whether she uses big brushes and bold strokes to make her marks, Thomas’s sensibility is there. As someone who has been privileged to watch this body of work develop, I admit this sensibility is difficult to define, but fluidity plays a role. Thomas moves with her work as it dictates she must. This allows for traces of landscape referencing her upbringing to emerge alongside purely abstract passages that result from wading into the unknown. This ability to remain fluid (in method and with paint as medium) gives the paintings a sense of speed in application that although contained in each composition, easily flows to the next. “They are nothing. They are something. Ineffable in their efficacy, they are all that you perceive,” writes guest essayist Pete Smith, perfectly capturing the generosity of imagery that Thomas has created for us. The work of Frances Thomas is not quiet and still - rather it is brash and dynamic - like the woman who produced it. In the studio, she moves with her medium, laying it bare with each painterly gesture.
– Carol-Ann Ryan, Curator

About the Artist
Frances Thomas was born in Parry Sound, Ontario and is a Barrie-based artist. She holds both a BFA and MFA from York University and is the recipient of the Samuel Sarick Purchase Award for excellence in thesis work. Thomas has participated in artist residencies in Canada and the US and in 2016 completed a three-month self-directed residency in Berlin, Germany. Her paintings were featured in a solo exhibition, “but wait”, with an accompanying catalogue, at the MacLaren Art Centre in 2009/10. She is represented by Peter Robertson Gallery in Edmonton, Alberta. She has exhibited in Edmonton, Barrie, Toronto and New York and her work is in the permanent collections of the MacLaren Art Centre, BMO and York University.

About the Curator
Carol-Ann Ryan is a visual arts professional who received an honours B.A. in Art & Art History from the University of Toronto and M.A. in Art History from Western University. She has held positions at public galleries including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the MacLaren Art Centre. She has been a sessional instructor in art history at the University of Toronto, Ontario College of Art, Emily Carr University and Georgian College. Currently, Carol-Ann is an Art Advisor & Project Manager with K+D in Toronto and serves as the Vice-Chair of the Public Art Committee for the City of Barrie.


Frances wishes to express sincere appreciation to the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, for funding support.

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For further details, please contact:

Gary Evans
Coordinator, Fine Arts, Museum and Gallery Studies,
School of Design & Visual Art Georgian College
1 Georgian Drive, Barrie, Ontario, L4M 3X9
Phone 705-728-1968, Ext.5322

The Campus Gallery at Georgian College is Accesible.

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