Born in Sri Lanka, Frances Ferdinands is a Toronto-based Canadian artist. She received a degree in Visual Art from York University, and a Teaching degree from the University of Toronto. She also holds an A.R.C.T. from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Classical Piano.
As a young art student, she was a recognized Toronto author. In 1973 she co-edited the book ECLECTIC EVE, a collection of over 50 interviews with Toronto Women artists. This book was thought to be “deserving of many laurels” for its style and contribution to the celebration of primarily unknown artists.
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.
Ms. Ferdinands has exhibited her paintings for over three decades in group and solo exhibitions in such diverse places as Paris, Honolulu, Bogota, the Continental U.S.A. and across Canada.
She is the recipient of many Grants from the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council, and her work has been purchased for inclusion in corporate, public, and private collections.
Ferdinands draws inspiration from thoughts, emotions, and occurrences that spring from her daily life. As well, her paintings often express her concerns for the social and environmental conditions/situations of post-modern society.
Her work is generally created in “series”, that have a specific thematic focus, such as isolation ( ADRIFT), WAR, FASHION/ART, and FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Her images, often a mix of contemporary and historical source material, are arresting juxtapositions, infused with humour, irony, metaphor, and spirituality.
Joan Murray, (former) Director/Curator of the Robert McLaughlin Gallery wrote:
“She (Ferdinands) brings to painting an intelligent, exploratory consciousness.”
Carrie Helm, of the Kelowna Art Gallery wrote of Ferdinands’ 2003 Solo Exhibition “Adrift”
“Contemplative, surreal and unsettling, Frances Ferdinands’ paintings provoke the viewer to consider the isolation and obscurity hovering not only above and around the vulnerable vessel, but which also surrounds humankind as we struggle to navigate our daily lives.”
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.”