114 North Prince Street, Lancaster, PA, 17603 | 717.299.9496

Frances Donnelly Wolf

I begin with words. I collect phrases and segments of sentences from both poetry and prose as points of reference for my paintings. I collect what appeals to me upon a first read. I collect what makes me catch my breath. In contrast to the poet or essayist who recasts and describes an image through the metaphor of words, mine is a qualified reverse ekphrasis. Rather than describe an image, one already created by another visual artist or of nature’s own, into word form, I transcribe my response to, and understanding of, a set of words into an image of my own making. My interest is not to illustrate what I read. Instead, I want to create pictures that are grounded in the persistent and inevitable nature of the visual. I want to make images that emphasize the aesthetic presence of their subject matter. And it is through this presence that I also want to examine the relevance and meaning that certain of the words I collect have for me. That is, although I am guided by the sensual evidence of what I see around me, I use it less as a model for mimetic transcription than as material for expressing my personal feelings. I think of my pictures as semantic spaces where I want to capture what I feel is the ineffable quality of the words I read or as Joseph Conrad describes in the Condition of Art, to find ‘…what of each is fundamental, what is enduring and essential – (its) one illuminating and convincing quality’. Frances received her MA in History of Art from Bryn Mawr College, PA a BA in Studio Art from Franklin and Marshall College and a BA in South Asian History from the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, England. Museums and galleries throughout Pennsylvania have featured her paintings and have been included in various juried and curated group shows. These comprise of The State Museum of PA in Harrisburg, the Artists’ House Gallery of Philadelphia, York Arts, Marketview Gallery of York, Lynden Gallery of Elizabethtown and The Lancaster Museum of Art. Her works have been featured in numerous publications and are part of both public and private collections.

Parade of enchantments, oil on canvas, 24" x 30"
Parade of enchantments, oil on canvas, 24" x 30"
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'Cumulus', 12
'Cumulus', 12
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'A New First Time', oil on canvas, 30" x 40"
'A New First Time', oil on canvas, 30" x 40"
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Wooden lace, a celestial geometry (Merton), acylic on board, 14" x 11"
Wooden lace, a celestial geometry (Merton), acylic on board, 14" x 11"
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