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Frances Ann Low

Frances Ann Low - Canadian Artist
Frances Ann Low

Biography

When spirit speaks to spirit, we hear only one language.


Frances Ann returned to art in 2009 after a 30-year hiatus. Life and career took precedence in those years, but the unfolding of her spiritual journey has called her back to paper and colour. Frances Ann has always been drawn to pastels as the preferred medium for her creative expression. While pastels are not a popular medium with artists these days, they offer an ethereal quality that captures the essence of what she is trying to communicate.

Frances Ann hopes you will enjoy the series of pastels she has chosen to display here. She considers these pieces visual parables for our time. They draw on the sacred stories of several spiritual traditions and interweave them like threads into the tapestry of the One Truth. Frances Ann is interested in capturing those moments when our human spirit reaches up to Heaven and Heaven bends down to touch the earth. As a self-taught artist, she moves freely with the pull of her spirit and intuition. As a result, she knows that her vision at the start of a piece will be dwarfed by the end result. In the vein of the Jewish midrash tradition, these pieces cry out, “Interpret me!” Frances Ann uses the symbols of various spiritual traditions, notably aboriginal (particularly of Southwest Native American cultures), Christian and, to a limited extent, Jewish. She has chosen the language of symbols for conveying the messages in her pieces because of their ability to say so much with so little and to provide a multi-layered interpretation that can carry the viewer as deeply as their spiritual eyes will permit.

Ruach - By Canadian Artist Frances Ann Low The artist’s hope is that her work will open your eyes and heart to a different way of seeing. It is an invitation to go to the thin place, as the Celts call it: “both seen and unseen, where the door between the world and the next is cracked open for a moment and the light is not all on the other side. God shaped space. Holy.” (Sharlande Sledge, poet) Our First Nations people know these places well. The stories in Frances Ann’s pieces unfold multi-dimensionally and the images themselves seem to turn on several axes, bringing them strangely alive but with an illusory effect. Her work calls the viewer to a contemplative place. Distance allows for an eagle eye view, with the surprising effect that as you physically move away from a piece, images coalesce until eventually everything within the frame appears transformed. There is no negative space in these pieces. Isn’t there always some positive to be found in every negative experience? Many of the pieces are meant to be turned in all four directions. Christians seek enlightenment by walking the labyrinth, a practice that takes them to the centre of the circle via a circuitous path around it. Native Americans constructed medicine wheels in time past and still use them today, turning towards the four directions to shed light on their spiritual path. “Turn it, turn it, for everything is in it . . .” say the Jewish sages about interpreting the sacred Torah.

Following is a brief commentary on Frances Ann’s work by Greer Jones-Woodham, artist and university instructor, a kindred spirit in the pursuit of creative expression: “The timelessness in your pieces is that there is a 360° turn of sight and the never-ending possibility to seeing . . . and therein lies the Wow! The unexpected turns and twists in which forms appear out of nowhere, the x-ray vision within the negative spaces that is there and not easily seen, and the messages within these pieces that are mystical and contemporary . . . this is perhaps where the power of these pieces lies. The entire painting is not seen at the same time like watching a photograph [with] the predictability of the horizon line and the linear perspective that the viewer automatically will read. These paintings are viewed in frames just as in a movie. The eye is trying to make sense of what it sees first within a frame and then moves on to another frame to get a sense of the whole.”

The American Southwest calls to this artist in a special way. The desert is a place set apart. Many spiritual traditions have long seen the desert as a wilderness where we go to find our true selves. It is a place of beauty, testing and of truth. It is a place of breathtaking colour and stark shapes that has drawn many artists. In New Mexico, Frances Ann found her spiritual home high in the Sangre de Cristo mountains where the night sky provides a show like no other – inky blackness shining with a thousand stars that feel like you can reach up and pluck them out of the sky and where the Big Dipper really is big and pours itself out into the canyons below. The sprawling adobe, craggy ridges, brilliant blues, circling eagles, jumping trout and fast flowing river of the monastery at Pecos, New Mexico have been calling this artist all of her life and there her soul is at rest. It is a place steeped in Pueblo history and monastic stillness and both of these have served as inspiration for Frances Ann’s art. For more on the Pecos Benedictine Monastery (aka Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey), please visit their website at www.pecosmonastery.org.

The fulfilled life demands that we get in touch with our creative energy and use it in the pursuit of our highest self. Frances Ann’s hope is that her creative and spiritual journey will continue to give birth to art worth contemplating.

Thank you for sharing in Frances Ann’s artistic homecoming! Please drop by again as this page will be updated frequently.

I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter hidden things, things from of old −
what we have heard and known,
what our fathers have told us.
(Psalm 78:2-3 NIV)


Gethsemane - By Alberta Artist Frances Ann Low
Between Heaven and Earth - By Alberta Artist Frances Ann Low
Hero - By Alberta Artist Frances Ann Low

Dreamcatcher - By Alberta Artist Frances Ann Low
Ascending - By Alberta Artist Frances Ann Low
Called - By Alberta Artist Frances Ann Low

Little Feather - By Alberta Artist Frances Ann Low
Angels That Gather - By Alberta Artist Frances Ann Low
Meeting At Sacred Pipe - By Alberta Artist Frances Ann Low
On A Wing And A Prayer - By Alberta Artist Frances Ann Low

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Frances Ann Low
Art Worth Contemplating
Calgary, Alberta
E-mail: artworthcontemplating@gmail.com

All rights reserved by Frances Ann Low

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