After decades of artistic expression, spanning colorful acrylics, pet portraits, family monochromes, her own studio at Tula, one woman shows, and first prizes, Sandy Springs resident Fran Scher is positioned only months into her new and most satisfying free-form genre. The petite artist presides over an art filled home filled with a custom cocktail table by California artist Todd Gray, to glasswork by Rich Royal, who was once the head gaffer for Dale Chihuly.
But the core of the art here is of her own design, and is as varied as her talent. Now represented by IDEA Gallery in Chamblee and Anne Jackson Gallery in Roswell, Scher finds herself most proud of this new role as an abstract artist. Her large canvases match their joyful names such as “Feelin’ Good” and “Wanna Dance?”
Jaffe: What does it mean to re-create one’s self? How does that process unfold?
Fran: My undergraduate degree is in art education, as I taught art in New York. Decades ago I studied with Phyllis Franco, whom I admire. In July 2017, I took a workshop by the inspiring Leslie Newman, where everything changed! I felt like I got the freedom and methodology to dive differently into my work. I begin the process with granite and paint; then it becomes an intuitive process. Over the years, I’ve taken classes locally from wonderful artists like Gary Bodner, James Richards, and Chris Meadows.
Jaffe: How does your creative system unfold?
Fran: It’s a straight-forward process. I don’t outline a sketch. I don’t refer to photographs or other peoples’ references. I close my eyes and turn to the canvas and start immediately with paint not knowing where it’s going to head. It is the spontaneity of the undiscovered that makes it exciting.
Jaffe: You have been active on so many fronts in the Atlanta art scene.
Fran: I’ve had displays at Peachtree Center, Atlanta Artists Center, Marietta Cobb Museum of Art and many galleries like Mason Murer and dk Gallery. One very creative job was that of director of the well-respected Vespermann Gallery, which sold museum quality glass.
Jaffe: What are some of the most unusual things you have created?
Fran: Our great room showcases a triptych I painted of the same couple as they modernized and evolved over decades. I also created a Jackson Pollock-style painting in the den. I have a fascination with the Kennedys and you will see my JFK interpretation high up in the entrance and Jackie O in the guest room.
Jaffe: What are some of the most edgy and cherished works of others that you have collected?
Fran: The lithograph in the dining room, “Morning Coffee,” is by Malcolm Liepke, who has created covers for Newsweek,Time, Forbes, Sports Illustrated and Fortune magazines. His is self taught and uses clove and linseed oils to make every brush stroke count.
The “Bonnie and Clyde” sculpture by British artist Mackenzie Thorpe, who is collected worldwide by notables like Queen Elizabeth and Elton John. He is known for large headed youths evocative of his own learning disabilities and subsequent ostracized childhood.
We also have some collectible pieces: Ed Moulthrop wooden bowls, Cynthia Consentino’s “Daisy,” Krista Grecco’s “Strawberry Lady,” Mary Lou Higgins’ “Getting Ready for Tea,” and most notably, Kirstin Stingle’s sculpture composed of an old bundt pan. Our doll, from the Akira Studios in Tennessee, is similar to the figures in the permanent collections in the Louvre and White House.these interplay in the great room. Most visitors comment on the large orange ceramic by James Marshall, a student of Zen Buddhism, and the ethereal life-sized white paper dancer by Ursula Brodauf from Salt Lake City, Utah
Jaffe: Jerry, what’s your role in this?
Jerry: We have been married for 50 years and Fran has painted through the decades. I would concur that her recent contemporary style is very exciting. Fran paints almost every day and whenever the creative juices flow.
Jaffe: Share some facets about your personal life.
Fran: I have completed the Peachtree Road Race 23 times, most notably with my father who was 88 at the time, and believed to be one of the oldest people to cross the finish line. I have been on the board of the William Breman Jewish Home for many years as vice president of special events.
I have volunteered there on a weekly basis for the past 18 years. Ann Kay and I were both honored with the Volunteers of the Year Award for 2015-2016. Also I seem to have the perfect window for making orchids thrive. Friends bring me their “ailing” plants that come back to life in my kitchen… magenta blooms, happy yellow exotics.
Jaffe: Your kitchen has an opalescent, “sea foam” aquamarine glow.
Fran: The granite island is a one-of-a-kind piece. The dining chairs are Scandinavian from Domus many years ago. The glass top is custom cut. The Far wall displays Zulu and Ndebele figures from South africa composed of beads, fabric, wire and plastic. They each tell a story with clues that describe their life positioning. Each doll is unique because they are handmade and passed on through generations.
Jaffe: How do you explain abstract art?
Fran: It’s like music. It’s about how it makes you feel.
Jaffe: What’s next for you? You are a hot bed of creativity.
Fran: Come to my solo show opening July 12 at the Ventulett Gallery and find out.