by mary frances
Ive been a long admirer of Mary Frances’s landscapes and everyday wonders, her seasonal palettes, and swatch colour explosions. These images contain worlds found in the most obscure places. Walls, rocks, tiles, ghost signs, you name it, Mary has the gift of transforming our minds to see what she can see. It is amazing the connections that sparked and prompted this magical book. Though it’s Mary’s persistence and search for her imaginary places that is the crux of her art. For some people,these are the places where they prefer to live.
In sea pictures, the stones of graveyards and church walls become the spectres of old worlds. In using partial texts, lines and phrases from two of the most powerful sea tales written, Melville’s Moby Dick & Coleridges The Rime Of the Ancient Mariner, Mary sparks a new mythology. Each few lines that accompany these carefully selected photographs does more than describe or match the simulacra. Even with direct descriptions ‘dreaming fast through the milky fog-smoke mornings‘ we see behind the peeling paint and moss and enter homes, walk down streets and whole towns of our own making. It goes deeper and like Coleridge’s poem, the words and pictures play over in your head projecting the scene behind your eyes. You hear it in your mind and each page creates one’s own new town. Mary can turn stone into night in an instant, a brilliant gift to find universes in a pinhead. We see tumultuous waves on a wild coast, shooting stars, snow, auroras and seasonal plays with the light in one’s new town.
Sea pictures has given me an opportunity to look deep into the self, page after page. Each read better than the last, every time one skims through its leaves. The cover, a beautiful storm over the sea complete with lightening strike, the layout held between aquamarine and purple perfectly offset and frame the action on each page, sea pictures is a sustained dream. If you hold your ear up to this book what can you hear? Besides the sea, the voices are the busy day to day of a seaside town. But there is an underbelly of mystery held between the illusion of gulls and crashing waves. There is a yearning and solitude permeating the salty air.
The sea town, the dream, the voyage, the end comes too soon and I hope Mary Frances continues to enlighten us with more of her textural impressionistic watercolours and visual poetry in another series. You can purchase your copy from Penteract Press.