Frances Kuehn – New York, NY


NUDE WITH PRIMARIES, 40 x 30 inches, 2015

NUDE WITH PRIMARIES, 40 x 30 inches, 2015

Briefly describe the work you do.

With some exceptions, as the paintings seen in the studio shot reveal, my current and recent work is mostly still life painting, the most abstract of representational painting genres. The subject matter is clothing and bed-clothes, which can be draped, compressed, spread, folded, juxtaposed and mingled, and viewed from a variety of perspectives .

Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.

I am a university-educated artist, was a student at Rutgers at a time when there was an unusually interesting group of teachers and students. It was a remarkably stimulating environment, which made everything seem possible.

The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

My paintings have always been labor-intensive, because it’s work I enjoy. This means I spend a lot of time in the studio, and my studio has always been in my home.

HOMAGE TO JOHN CHAMBERLAIN 8, 20 x 15 inches, 2012

HOMAGE TO JOHN CHAMBERLAIN 8, 20 x 15 inches, 2012

What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

The self-promotion responsibility of an artist is something I didn’t think about much as a beginner.

When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?

Ideally, I like to work between late morning and late afternoon every day, but there are days when other things need to get done instead. And there is also value in diversions — hearing music, family and social occasions, travel , etc.

MULTICOLOR OVERALL, 38 x 54 inches, 2009

MULTICOLOR OVERALL, 38 x 54 inches, 2009

How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?

My work has not changed dramatically in the last five years. Big change for me came in 2003, before which I was a figure painter. The implied context of the current paintings suggests an intimate environment and human presence.

How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?

I think that we are all affected by history and the culture of our time and place, and probably not specifically conscious of the impact of every element.

Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?

I never wanted to pursue another career. At various times I have had other responsibilities, like parenthood and earning a living. I have a significant interest in music, as a listener.


head shotAfter painting the human figure for a long time, in the latter part of 2003 I began making realistic paintings of abstract subjects. Most of these fall into groups or series – the flexible grids, the ribbon drawings, and the curved squares. In general, the subjects were aggregate forms of identical or very similar elements.

Further development of the ribbon images with enclosures led directly to the drawer paintings. The bed paintings continue the overhead view of the dispersed elements, while the chair paintings offer other approaches to the implied body and the fluidity of form.

John Chamberlain’s sculptures were made by assembling crushed materials originally fabricated into other objects.  That process and the diminutive size of some of Chamberlain’s works were part of the inspiration for my “Homage to John Chamberlain” series of paintings.

Development means that one thing continues to lead to another.

Click here to view her CV.

studio shot

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.  


About 365Artists/365Days

The purpose of this project is to introduce its readership to a diverse collection of art that is being produced at the national and international level. Our goal is to engage the public with information regarding a wide array of creative processes, and present the successes and failures that artists face from day to day. The collaborators hope that this project will become a source for exploring and experiencing contemporary art in all its forms.
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