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May 21st, 2023

Francie Hester featured in “M STAMPS”

Francie Hester on new exhibition, advice for students

Francie Hester (BFA ​83) is an internationally recognized visual artist whose work is represented in numerous private and corporate collections, including the World Bank, Airbus, Capital One, and the International Monetary Fund.

In this Q&A, Francie reflects on her Stamps experience, career, and upcoming exhibition: the Axis series.

You’ve had quite the career. How would you describe it? 

I have been working as a full-time visual artist for over 35 years. I graduated from the Stamps School in 1983 with a BFA and an MFA from the University of Maryland in 1994. Early in my career, I ran several art nonprofit exhibition spaces in Washington, DC.

For the past thirty-plus years, I have maintained an active visual art practice, painting on sculpted materials – aluminum, steel, and plexiglass. I have also dedicated my time to site-specific and site-inspired installation work centering around art and healing. I am represented by Susan Eley Fine Art, which has locations in New York City on the Lower East Side and Hudson, New York. I also work with a variety of art consultants to place my work. This work ranges from placement in private homes to large-scale atrium pieces.

What does your typical day on the job look like? 

I have two large autobody shops in Kensington, Maryland, where I do the bulk of my large-scale pieces. I also have a smaller light-filled studio in Boulder, Colorado. My daily practice is to paint every day, and I have an ongoing dedication to my drawing practice. The work is a mix of commission work and work for exhibitions.

What kind of art do you create?

I work principally on sculpted aluminum, steel, and plexiglass in a process-based practice that builds pixilated and vibrant pigments in deep layers with patterns of drips, grids, and fragmented shapes that are then deconstructed through sanding, scraping, drilling, and cutting to reveal the finished textured surfaces. It is physical work and keeps me humble and inspired!

What was your experience at Stamps like?

Stamps takes an innovative approach to arts education, which is mostly self-directed. I learned about the inherent challenges and the discipline needed to create a body of work. As a student, I was equipped with life-long skills. Stamps teaches us the importance of engagement with the community.

Any advice for Stamps students? 

  1. Follow your interests.

  2. Take the time at Stamps to develop skills.

  3. Build a network and community.

What are you currently working on? Do you have any exhibitions or events coming up? 

I have an exhibition opening May 11 – July 1 at SEFA — at their Lower East Side location. The opening is May 18 from 6 – 8, and all are welcome! Find me on Instagram at @franciehesterart and DM me — I would be happy to meet any Stamps students at the gallery during the exhibition.

I will be presenting a new series—Axis series.

In the Axis series, recollection pivots around vivid, etched markers of moments, days, and events — an axis of reference points. Axis includes a constellation of 50 sculpted pieces and separate six-foot pieces, all sculpted aluminum, and plexiglass in the shape of ​X.”

The exhibition also includes Crossing Lines, drawing on the literal and figurative uses of the word ​line” — bloodlines, headlines, lines of civic boundaries and individual identity, and lines that are emotional, spiritual, and physical; Confluence, exploring the potential for abstraction to meaningfully engage memory through fluid surfaces that interrelate with imperfections of recollection; Convex, examining pathways and repetition that create patterns and cycles of memories — ones lost and found; Strata, an ongoing series that began as a series of chants stripped of imagery in the deafening silence after the Twin Towers went down, and reflects a diary chronicling the layering of days; and Vessels, gentle arcs that create a space for reflection, contemplation, healing — thought, time and memory come together as a fluid collective.


To view more of Francie Hester’s work, visit her website at www​.fran​ciehester​.com.

The original article from M STAMPS is available at this link. All text credit to M STAMPS interviewer.

Hester’s solo exhibition Axis at SEFA NYC is on view through July 1st, with additional text and images available at this link.