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Oil on canvas
48” x 42”
(courtesy of Blanket Gallery)
Fran Herndon began her voyage in paint over 50 years ago accompanied by the poets and artists of the San Francisco Renaissance; Robin Blaser, Robert Duncan, Jess and Jack Spicer who spurred Fran on to realize and develop her artistic voice. Her early work shows an immediate, remarkable ability for paint handling and print making, mediums which poured out of her during her studies at the California School of Fine Arts (now SFAI) under the eye of Richard Diebenkorn.
During this period from 1961-63, she was also under the weekly tutelage of Spicer who schooled Fran in his artistic methods of applying practical magic and using allegory to express the existential conflict and social upheaval that was central to the the artistic ground swell of the Beat movement. This exhibition includes early paintings and etchings from this little known but much admired poet painter.
On Friday, April 27, 2012, a special poetry reading was organized by show curator Lee Plested to celebrate the opening of Fran Herndon’s exhibition at Blanket Gallery in Vancouver.
Meredith Quartermain was the first to read, sharing part of her book Recipes from the Red Planet (BookThug), which experiments with the Spicerean notion of language as furniture that is constantly being rearrange, and which may be Martian in origin.
Garry Thomas Morse followed up with Orphic lines from his homage to Spicer, After Jack (Talonbooks), reading poems that riffed upon “A Book of Music” and “Letters to James Alexander”.
George Stanley was next, expressing in San Fran Renaissance magical fashion that “somewhere next to the john”, there was perhaps a portal in the gallery on this evening in Vancouver that would lead directly to San Francisco.
Stanley read from his fabulous collection A Tall, Serious Girl (Qua Books), the cover of which features Fran Herndon’s painting Eye on the Sea.
To round out the evening of readings, David Farwell recounted a charming story about sitting under a statue of Dante in daylong meditation with his longtime partner Robin Blaser before a momentous reunion with Fran Herndon, a person he had first known through her paintings and space before actually meeting her.
Herndon was present and appeared both tickled and touched by the readings.
Pg. 44 (from Jack Spicer’s The Heads of the Town up to the Aether)
20 × 13 inches
Blanket Contemporary Art will be presenting this exhibition of early paintings and lithographs by San Francisco artist Fran Herndon through May 26, 2012.