"Frances Law's studio is filled with a mix of flotsam and jetsam she has picked up on past beach-combing trips. In this small tranquil space, your eye dances from the views out to rolling fields, and back to shelves crowded with beautiful carefully constructed assemblages of found treasure, bowls of shells and pebbles, bottles and brushes. Then there are the large scale oil paintings of the interior world of a shell. Among the cards, receipts, memos and aide-memoires pinned on the wall, there's a typed quote from Marcel Proust's La Prisonnière, the fifth volume of Remembrance of Things Past, which reads, 'The real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes.' I first saw Frances' work in the summer of 2010, when she was selected to be a finalist in what turned out to be the last-ever Aspect Prize. What initially struck me most about Frances' work was the fact that although there were no figures within its hidden depths, it was almost as though a figure existed there. Hidden, lurking, watching and waiting. When I tell her this, she replies, 'I always feel like I am painting myself in these works. Until 1998, I painted the figure all the time, but since then, I have been exploring the possibilities of structures such as shells or other natural forms. I like the way that natural forms become architectural.
The process by which Frances arrives at her large shell paintings sees her looking through a tiny homemade viewfinder at small sections of shells grouped together. She then sets to work, using the dry brush technique she learned at Glasgow School of Art under her tutor there, the acclaimed painter, Sandy Moffat.
'The style of painting suits me,' she explains. 'I wanted precision and Sandy opened a door for me which allowed me to paint in a very precise way.' Talking to Frances about her work, it feels like her early interest in archaeology, gleaned she says from her history-mad father, has burrowed its way into her psyche.
She explains. 'I remember as a young child - maybe around seven or eight - being with my dad and my brother and sister, watching an archeological dig on the Antonine Wall outside Denny, where we lived.
'I was fascinated by the process and I think to this day, I'm uncovering; searching, unearthing my own archaeology. Always looking for the light and looking at the ordinary, making it extraordinary.'
It is this luminous aspect of Frances Law's work, which makes it so intriguing. Like all good artists, she takes us, her viewers, on a voyage of self-discovery to places we didn't know existed. Frances' work can be seen from 3rd March - 20th May at the Park Gallery, Callendar Park House, Falkirk."
Journalist PR and Art Lover