Francesca Yorke’s work shares many of the impulses and ideals of the mid twentieth century New York School of Abstract Expressionists. Her compositions and colors, which range from black and white to vivid, lush combinations, evoke the gestural calligraphic brushwork of a Willem de Kooning, or Franz Kline, however, they also harken to Asian calligraphy, and Taoist iconography which she studied for three years in her early teens.
Francesca, a native of the UK, grew up between the city life of London and the farmlands around her grandparents’ cattle farm in the rural Cotswolds. Her grandfather F.R.S.Yorke — who besides being a farmer was also a pioneering modernist architect — had an early and lasting influence on Francesca’s art. An early and avid Dance student, she turned to painting in college— studying initially at St Martin's School of Art, then earning a degree in film & photography from the University of Arts, both located in London. After a long career in England as an extensively published commercial and fine art photographer, she emigrated to the Southwestern United States where she has lived for a number of years in Santa Fe.
Since moving to New Mexico, Francesca has continued to work on photo books, assignments and personal projects and has taught workshops independently as well as The Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and The O’Keefe Museum. However, she has also gradually re-embraced her first love, painting. “My photographs inform my paintings. Some are a direct representation whilst others serve as a visual reference point or inspiration. Both are important to me and I enjoy switching from one to the other.”
The renewal of interest in the brush began several years ago with a series of images pairing photographs of professional fighters with gestural calligraphic ink drawings echoing the figures' forms and movements. Her original love of dance comes through in the choreography of these large diptychs, which rhythmically draw the eye back and forth from painting to photograph. Francesca is in her element as both painter and photographer with her latest work, which re-examines the language of modernism by subtly integrating gestural abstraction with the mystic aesthetic symbolism of the east.
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