Fanchon Fröhlich, Beryl Bainbridge - a friendship
Gallery 1, 80 Lark Lane, The Old Police Station, L17 8UU
18th Sept - 29th Sept 2010
Fanchon Fröhlich is, I think it is fair to say, one of the most
under-rated artists of these times, given her vast and esoteric body of
work, her life experiences and her quite extraordinary and unique 'take'
on her subjects.
This is a rare chance to view, and certainly to buy, rare pieces of her
In this exhibition, which is to commemorate Beryl Bainbridge in paintings
and drawings of her and her friends and family, the artist captures the
spirit of an age - the sixties - which is both knowing and innocent, and
now almost impossible to imagine. The equivalent of a 'Bloomsbury group'
of that time, Fanchon, Beryl and their high-profile husbands formed a
glamorous and erudite society crossing several career and social boundaries.
Featuring a self-portrait by Fanchon, a philosopher from Oxford and later
an abstract painter, in the 'Beryl period', drawings of her husband, Herbert
Fröhlich, a Professor of Theoretical Physics, of Beryl Bainbridge
and her husband Austin Davis, a painter (when he had just completed a
huge painting of "Dejeune sur l'herbe", this intimate and insightful
show also features touching pictures of Beryl with her babies.
I was fortunate enough to meet Beryl Bainbridge, a lifelong literary heroine
of mine, five years ago, and then to visit her home in Camden. The sensitive
paintings and drawings here capture the paradox between her angular, almost
androgynous features, the brittle, sometimes caustic nature of her prose,
and the much softer and more gentle, always open and generous nature which
lay beneath the underlying wit and understanding of her novels.
Fanchon 's huge canon includes representational paintings and abstract
expressionist paintings and etchings. She has collaborated with artists
from France, Italy, United States of America, England, Ireland and Taiwan
Her artwork unites philosophy of science and art, evident for instance
in the ‘Position of Light in Art’ and the ‘Paradoxes
of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art’ to the book she co-edited
with Sylvie le’ Seach (who was also a pupil of Hayter): ‘S.W.
Hayter Research on Experimental Drawing: Systems of Oscillating Fields’.
Jeremy Reed states that "Part of Fanchon’s greatness lies
in her ability to continually reinvent herself as an artist. Her writings
on philosophy, science and art, her immense European culture, that also
takes in the work of the American abstract expressionists, as well as
the Japanese influences on her art, initiated by a period of work with
Goto San in Kyoto, have all combined over the years, to the continuous
and lively remaking of her art as the dominant expression of a life committed
to imaginative creativity. Her work, always celebratory in tone and driving
in energy, is the unstoppable example of an artist working with courage
at the edge, and one who is prepared to accept all experience as subject
matter for art, and to compound the risks proposed by pioneering into
Fanchon Fröhlich (nee Angst) was a philosophy student at the University
of Chicago, where she worked with Rudolf Carnap (formerly of Vienna, and
the founder of the Vienna Circle) and Oxford where she studied with Sir
Prof. Peter Strawson, doing a doctorate in Primary and Secondary Qualities.
She studied at Liverpool College of Art, then moved to St Ives to work
with Peter Lanyon. Later she travelled to Paris where she worked with
the sculptor Szabo and finally studied at Stanley William Hayter’s
etching atelier, Atelier 17, all of the time preserving her faith in Abstract
Expressionism. She married Herbert Fröhlich, Professor of Theoretical
Physics at Liverpool University and at the Max Plank Institute in Stuttgart.
Some of the renowned artists and philosophers names that Fanchon has
worked or collaborated with, since the '50s, are: William Hayter, Elizabeth
Anscombe, Peter Lanyon, Prof. Peter Strawson, Kenji Yoshida (Sayonara/
Mr. Blue Sky/ Japan; Paris), Goto San (Japan), Yasse Tabuchi (Japan) ,
Kuo Yu Lun (Taiwan), Lawrence Ball, Jeremy Reed, Jane McCormack, Sylwie
le' Seach, and many others. For performances there is a musician from
London, Laurence Ball, who improvises according to the motions of the
artists and the atmosphere.
© Gayna Rose Madder 2010. Some parts of this article edited from
Gallery4allarts information supplied.
Gallery4allarts contact and addresses:
GALLERY4ALLARTS – Gallery 1, 80 Lark Lane, The Old Police Station, Liverpool, L17 8UU
Opening times: Gallery 1: Tuesday-Thurs
3.00pm – 6.00pm; Friday, Saturday 12.00am - 5.00pm
Closed: Monday, Tuesday and Sunday. Gallery
also open by appointment. Please, contact by phone to arrange.
Tel: 07756 912 911