University of New Orleans, MFA
Francesca "Frahn" Koerner - Artist Statement
I am a Contemporary Fine Artist; primarily a painter, but I also make art using photography and mixed medias. I've done several Art Installations and videos. My symbolic work alludes to magic realism, a continuing interest in metaphysical evolution, and an unwavering search for enlightenment. Some have described my work as "magical abstraction."
….Paintings of boats— Chinese junks that Koerner said symbolized becalmed seas and a lack of movement, and tiny open crafts symbolizing change. She also painted recurring images of a woman on horseback who, she said, represented movement through time and transformation.
-Elizabeth Cook-Romero; “Di s p l a c e d artists retaking their place” The New Mexican, Santa Fe, New Mexico (2006)
I grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and spent many hours exploring the natural areas along the Mississippi Gulf coast. The visual and cultural environment of the region has been a strong influence on me. Vibrant colors from the semi tropical area and rhythmic patterns inspired by those in nature have been repetitive motifs in my work. An early Catholic upbringing, spiritual symbolism, Buddhist Philosophy, and mystical experiences have also inspired me. I use imagery such as geometric patterning [referring to Sacred Geometry], op art, rituals, the natural world, boats, horses, and the human figure. I enjoy pushing the boundaries and often use nontraditional art materials. I sometimes use the computer as a tool.
“As a painter, Koerner uses the computer as a “virtual sketchbook,” a tool for fleshing out ideas. In developing a painting, Koerner may create as many as one hundred computer mockups in which she experiments with multiple possibilities for color, scale, and composition. She begins a painting by pouring paint onto a canvas or wood panel, photographs the initial layer, and scans the image onto a computer. Next she integrates imagery from a variety of sources in her everyday environment into the mix, and manipulates the visual data. She then photographs the painting again and repeats the process until satisfied with the results. A finished painting is then based on the computer data but never replicates it.
Koerner is as interested in the layering of meanings as she is of forms, and the amalgam of images in her paintings represents a personal lexicon of emotional, psychological, and spiritual symbolism. Memory and nostalgia, for example are reflected in decorative patterning that she copied from an architectural motif at a church that she visited in Budapest, while the recurring image of a horse refers to her experience of riding horses during childhood.”
- David Rubin; “Digital Louisiana” Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans catalogue (2002)
My Mother was born in Wales, Great Britain and I traveled often while growing up. I still enjoy exploring different cultures, and I often infuse indigenous patterns into my work. I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting with a minor in photography from Tulane University. In 1997, I received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Orleans, again majoring in painting with a minor in photography. I enjoy creating paintings and photographs while using nontraditional materials.
The surface of my paintings is important to me. I enjoy working with materials such as liquid plastic, gold dust, aluminum paint, glitter, and more recently….fabric, glass beads, and sequins. These are often incorporated or layered over an abstract field of paint and combined with an op art design or geometric patterning. This combination results in an overall painting surface that simultaneously reflects and absorbs the light. My goal is to achieve an illusion of movement and depth. I want color and pictorial space to fluctuate, while eliciting a meditative and rhythmic response. My intention is to visually allude to the elusiveness of perceiving a non-material world. The hidden layers hopefully suggest an element of mystery.
In 2008, I co created “The Apostolic Project.” This Collaborative mixed media Installation involved filling a flooded and gutted house in the 9th Ward/Holy Cross area of New Orleans with thousands of hand folded paper boats. I imagined it to be a shrine to those who suffered loss caused by destructive hurricanes.
My recent photography puzzle series, “These Ritual Visions“ was created from personal photographs of rituals and of the natural world. These photographs were made into puzzles. I then rearranged the puzzle pieces into patterns so that visual space would appear to fluctuate between the negative and the positive. The resulting spatial ambiguity is a metaphor for the co-existence of spiritual and material worlds.
My mixed media painting series involves using poured paint that has a patterned overlay of reflective materials. Some of the elements relate back to my 2006 mixed media work that I call “Milagros, Paintings without Paint.” During my 2006 Artist Residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute, I was inspired by the Milagros on the walls of the Healing Church, Santuario de Chimayo, in New Mexico. At that time I began using the reflective materials that were then nailed onto fabric stretched over a wooden panel.