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Frances E.J. native Mississippian began art and design as a child using the rural life and earth as her platform and palette. At age thirteen she was given a Kodak camera in exchange for caretaking a woman with terminal illness. She began photographing the intangible human condition, her family and the landscape. Determined to pursue excellence in "her calling" she studied for eight years at The San Francisco Art Institute. She had already received her BSE in Mississippi and founded a school in Boulder, Colorado which attracted many innovative thinkers such as John Taylor, of The Boston Globe and Jude Rifkin of The Bank Street School in New York City. She was granted an award from The Colorado Architectural Association for her work at Greenbelt School and had her first museum show of photography at The Denver Art Museum before ever attending art school.

She moved to New York City while in her last semester at the San Francisco Art Institute, having her MFA show in May in San Francisco and the very next month of June at The Penson Gallery in New York City. She had begun signing her work Frances E.J. because she felt an affinity with the larger world and wanted to go beyond any ethnic identity (by birth, Lucy Hope Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson’s sister is her fifth great grandmother).

Mr. Edward Penson entrepreneur and gallery owner allowed Frances E.J. the vote of confidence and freedom to show such risky work as The Slash Paintings and was instrumental in attainment of a one person museum exhibition, her Kelp Installation in the Los Angeles area. In this cutting edge installation she collaborated with composer Charlie Morrow. Soon to follow were collaborations with architects such as Nung Chong. Her grasp of environmental and global concerns broadened with her inclusion in the Moscow, Russia, Monumental Propaganda Show curated by Komar and Melamid.

The art of Frances E.J. portrays a depth of vision and commitment both to the integrity of the individual and to the world at large which is evident in her work ranging from the most personal painting and iconography to daring public art and environmental installations. Presently she lives and works both in New York City and on the Pacific Coast of Northern California in Sonoma County.


Self-portrait, 2007
Photographs by Richard Kelly, Soho, New York City, 1991
©Copyright Frances E.J. 2008. All rights reserved