Rose Frantzen’s In the Face of Illusion
presents thoughtful portrayals of individuals in dialogue with optical illusions and impossible shapes, suggesting ways we might distort our perception of others and ourselves. The artist will exhibit a portion of the original 17 portraits and figurative paintings, which, in full presentation, form a 70’ long wall of contiguous canvases.
The enmeshed or juxtaposed optical illusions offer narratives in which the nuanced complexity of an individual is obscured, distorted, minimized. The attention Frantzen gives to each subject offers access to the person’s individuality, while the illusions create a dialogue between engagement and misperception.
Frantzen states that:
“Group identities offer strength that can be useful in correction of past or ongoing injustices and they can provide momentum as we strive to accomplish goals that will improve our towns, our states, our world. The need for tribal identification might be as inherent and persistent as optical illusions. So, how do we build and distill the benefits of group coherence without resorting to us vs. them caricatures and illusions? How do we avoid being consumed by tribal identity when we are put on the defensive, when our group is struggling or threatened? How do we avoid being blinded to one another’s complexities? Can an expanded sense of the uniqueness and value of each individual counteract the divisive side of human nature? Can we acknowledge and even be amused and humbled by our misperceptions?”
Rose Frantzen has an established history as a working artist, exhibiting figurative, representational, and allegorical works in oil and multimedia in galleries across the country, including the Old City Hall Gallery, which she established in her hometown of Maquoketa, Iowa. She has had numerous one woman shows and participated in many group shows in galleries and museums throughout the United States. “Portrait of Maquoketa,” a collection of 180 portraits that she painted of her townspeople, was exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The project now includes a panoramic landscape of Maquoketa painted on 34 suspended panels and is part of the Figge Art Museum’s permanent collection. Her work is in the permanent collections of the World Food Prize, the Figge Art Museum, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the Dubuque Museum of Art, Iowa State University, University of Iowa, and has been shown at the Butler Institute of American Art, the Brunnier Museum, the Denver Historical Museum, and the Iowa State Historical Museum. She is a three-time winner in the International Portrait Competition of the Portrait Society of America, awarded 5th and 4th place out of 2500+ entries, and received the 2016 and 2018 People’s Choice Award. Her portrait commissions include university deans and presidents, governors, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack.
Frantzen is a frequent demonstrator, workshop instructor, guest lecturer, and panelist discussing art and the artist’s life in the 21st century at museums and national art conventions, and her paintings have been featured in national and international art magazines, podcasts, and journals. Her latest project, “In the Face of Illusion,” is a 4×70 foot wall of contiguous portraits and figures that are painted in dialogue with optical illusions. Her work can be found online at OldCityHallGallery.com.