Biography

Born in Colombo Sri Lanka, Frances Ferdinands is a Toronto-based, mid-career Canadian artist. She holds a Visual Arts degree from York University, an A.R.C.T. (Piano) from the Royal Conservatory of Music, and Education degree from University of Toronto.

She was co-editor of Eclectic Eve: a Collection of Fifty Interviews with Toronto Women Artists. (Coach House Press, 1973). Noted American art historian and contemporary art critic Lucy Lippard wrote, “Eclectic Eve is a book I’ve often used and much enjoyed. I wish other cities would do the same.” Ferdinands’ paintings are featured in two Artbooks: Rethinking Acrylic” (Northlight Books, 2008) and Acrylic Innovation (Northlight Books, 2010). Ferdinands created the winning design for the 2017 Diwali commemorative coin for the Royal Canadian Mint.

Ferdinands has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions for over three decades across Canada and in the United States. She has exhibited as far afield as Paris, Bogota and Honolulu. She is the recipient of many Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council artist grants. Her paintings are held in private and corporate collections including the Standard Broadcasting Corporation, Franco-Nevada Mining, and the Dresdner Bank of Canada. Museum collections include the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, the Judith & Norman Alix Gallery and the Royal Ontario Museum. In 2015 and 2017, Ferdinands returned to Sri Lanka to be mentored in traditional arts and crafts. There she studied temple mural painting, bobbin lace making, and mask making. This experience has served to enrich Ferdinands’ cultural understanding of her Sri Lankan heritage and her sense of place within it.

Virginia Eichhorn, Curator of the 2006 Exhibition, “BY APPEARANCES” , at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, wrote

“Frances Ferdinands’ work is characterized by technical facility, richness of colour and breadth of vision. Whether drawing inspiration from the natural world, the annals of art history or interior reflections, Ferdinands creates vistas that engage and draw the viewer close. Her work is compelling and full of detail – symbolic and technical. She addresses subjects of profound universal significance yet does so through personal metaphor and imagery. Engagement with Ferdinands’ paintings is always a satisfying and enriching encounter.”