Fran Callen Artist Bio 2016

Fran completed her Bachelor of Visual Arts at the South Australian School of Art (1997). Following her first solo show at Greenhill Galleries (1999) she won the Ruth Tuck Scholarship in 2003 enabling her to study at Santa Repararta International School of Art, Florence, Italy. Fran completed Honours in Visual Arts at SASA in 2006. She has taught drawing and painting at UniSA since 2008, and taught painting at ACArts, Pine Street Studios (Sydney), and Tauondi Aboriginal College. Fran has worked as a community artist since 1995, in metropolitan, rural and remote areas of Australia, as well as Kathamandu, New Delhi, Edinburgh, Florence, and Singapore. She was awarded Helpmann Academy’s cultural exchange to New Delhi in 2007. Fran has been an invited live-artist at numerous gigs, festivals, and events, her drawings used on CD covers including the band ‘The Church’. In 2012 her portrait of Chrissy Amphlett (Divinyls), was entered in the Archibald, and shortlisted for the Portia Geach Memorial Portrait Prize. She was SALA 2016 Artist in Residence at the Central Market. Her drawing ‘Tabletop 1’ won the 2016 Fleurieu Food and Wine Art Prize. Following this she is undertook a mentorship with Christopher Orchard through Guildhouse’s ‘Limber Up’ programme, which lead to representation and an exhibition at BMG Gallery in February 2017. Fran was selected for 'The Collections Project' working with Flinders Art Museum, and exhibited at 'The Studio' Flinders University Campus during SALA 2017, and FRANFest. Recent curated shows include 'Good Mother' at Central School of Art in 2018. She has been shortlisted in many National Art Prizes including the Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing, The Paul Guest Drawing Prize, the Ravenswood Australian Women's Art Prize, and STILL National Still Life Award. Fran exhibited in SALA Festival 2018 at BMG Gallery. In 2019 she was artist in residence at Grindell's Hut, Adnyamathanha Country, with Country ArtsSA. She currently teaches drawing and painting at Australian College for the Arts, Adelaide, works as a community artist specialising in murals, and teaches private drawing classes. In 2020 her Grindell's Hut work will be exhibited at Yarta Purtli Cultural Centre, Port Augusta. 

Artist Statement:Tabletop Series               

Within these drawings are explorations of new-motherhood, domesticity and the struggle to find the ultimate art/mother balance. I have strived for a process that can run alongside mothering, by using non-toxic materials in short snatches of time, in works that include children’s input in their development. Mothering itself has become a rich source of deep inspiration. In the making, un-stretched canvas is draped tablecloth-like, the kitchen table the easel. Drawings become records of domestic rituals. Objects are sketched as they appear during routines of family life, and then beyond, to the Central Market, and other spaces. Wine, coffee, tea, juice, salt and spices, all become mark-making mediums. Perspective warps as I move around the canvas and shadows change with time. Drawings evolve to become a layering of moments, a record of time passing. The narrative of the artworks’ own history is revealed within its layers. My artwork remains about human behavior. The Tabletop drawings have become as much about drawing, as they are about life.

© 2017 Fran Callen

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