Frances McCormack

I trust and value the response of wonder over all others. - Frances McCormack

Frances McCormack's work as an abstract painter draws on the history of gardens and landscape design. Each painting acts as a container where the lush nature of oil paint takes over. Impulsive and impetuous to restrained and subdued, her large-scale work tracks her full-bodied marks while natural forces like gravity are also allowed to exert their organic potency. Her work is organically structured like the spaces and walled gardens she has sought out as inspiration. Traveling to spaces in Italy, Spain, Turkey, Mexico and in her home state of California have provided a thoughtful respite, where the noise of everyday life can fall away and creativity can flourish. Never one to be satisfied with a simple answer, McCormack will continue to question her works; changing orientation mid-process and layering paint provide a history for the viewer.


In 2019 McCormack turned to collage which allowed her to work at a smaller scale. Visually similar to her painting, the collages represent a different artistic practice for McCormack. The careful, meticulous hunt for perfect details from a drawing, photograph, or instruction manual delights her. As a less forgiving art form, McCormack muses, "Cultivating patience is something I wish I had learned years ago."


McCormack was born in Boston and received her MFA from the University of California at Berkeley. She was the recipient of the first SFAI faculty residency at the American Academy in Rome, three Buck Foundation individual artists grants, a Djerassi residency and Willapa Bay Air residency. In 2012 the video she produced for the multi-media work, Artifacts, is a collaboration with the composer Kurt Rohde and writer Sue Moon which premiered at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She curated the exhibition Silence, Exile and Cunning for the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art in 2010. Her artist talk, Wonder and Limitation, can be viewed on youtube. McCormack is represented by the R.B. Stevenson Gallery in La Jolla CA and at Gilman Contemporary in Sun Valley, ID.