I have riveted my attention on doors in my most recent installations. While lines have been the formal foundation of almost all my art, in both works on paper and in sculpture, doors have become the dominant structural and narrative elements in installations. Building my doors as frames without panels, merely as outlines, my rooms suggest both shelter and exposure. Doors present opportunities, or slam them shut. They invite, or exclude.
I taught art in a domestic violence shelter, and I mentor in a program for the homeless and previously homeless. Doors provide a good metaphor for those commitments, and cardboard, an appealing sculptural material in itself, is a clear complement to painted wooden structures, being the iconic material in the street shelters of the homeless. Cardboard is showing up in major or minor amounts in all my new work. There is text buried in almost every piece too, either relevant or as a calligraphic element, conveying no message other than itself.
I find inspiration for the formal aspects of my work in the details of the world – the built world: architecture, sidewalk cracks, utility poles; the natural environment: stands of birch, fields of tall grasses; and the sciences: optics, geometry, and gravity. Some ideas spring from buried memories. Fleeting images seep in and then show up in my vision, and usually I’m unsure of where the shape of an idea came from, even the origin of my current devotion to doors. One day something just sticks in my head, and it works.
Francine Perlman has been exhibiting sculpture, constructions and installations, and works on paper, since 1985. Her work Doors Open/Doors Close (January 2017) was cited in Arnet News, first as one of eight editors’ picks for must-see in New York, and a week later, one of the five must-see Feminist art exhibitions in NY. Her large outdoor sculptures in The Farm Project, in Garrison, NY, were featured in press coverage in both 2014 and 2015. During 2012, she filled a card catalog drawer with 300 tiny works for Alternet, a collaboration with 75 other artists, assembled by Carla Rae Johnson. Alternet has been traveling since January 2013, to venues in New York and many cities around the country. “Where Lines Can Go”, a solo show at Ceres Gallery, included both her sculpture and works on paper. At the Fine Arts Gallery, Westchester Community College, she was granted that venue’s first ever solo exhibition. She has had solo shows at the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue and other non-gallery settings, including synagogues and libraries. Her work has appeared in many group exhibitions in the US, including the Hammond Museum, Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, the National Jewish Museum, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Albright Knox Museum, Ceres Gallery, and Sculptors Alliance at Governor’s Island. Her work appeared in the 2004 Bonn Biennial, Bonn, Germany, in two separate shows at the Frauen Museum, and was acquired by the museum.
Francine Perlman has taught sculpture and three dimensional design at City College and Westchester Community College, and sculpture workshops with Sculptors Alliance. She has taught drawing for seniors through LMCC’s SPARC program, and in 2018, a three-month mixed media class in a senior center in the Bronx. . She has an MFA in Sculpture from City College.
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