frances turner

"When I was a child I had a diary, but it wasn't of words, it was full of pictures, little cartoons. I tried to draw my problems, so I could look at them, and try and make sense of the situation. Like a cave painter, I created images of things I wanted to pin down, to capture, to embrace, to understand.

"I started to explore the nature of the changing body, the impaired body and the body in decline: the body as metaphor, the site of dreams, as a vehicle to explore my own obsessions.

"When it comes to depiction of the expressive human body the artist wages a war against prejudice and preconception, against a universal ideal, that the beautiful body is the healthy, youthful looking body; and that health and beauty are the source of erotic pleasure. The potential outcome of this fixation is a massive cultural paradox. For the opposite of health and beauty, of course is illness, the passage of time and the inherent frailty of our own corruptible physical being. Therefore it follows that ultimately we shall all find ourselves excluded from the realm of the beautiful at some stage or another.

"My work as an artist has always been centered on a preoccupation with those unconsidered conventions that dictate our attitude towards one another, and my work has always dealt with the body as an expression of our vulnerability. I am fascinated by the way the body appears and functions in the world, and the pressures placed upon us to conform. To me the contemporary human condition is one that negotiates a mine field of conflicting images. I am preoccupied with those internal landscapes that describe our discomfort in the body, that unease with what we are and how we appear to others. The drawings and paintings I produce all talk of transformations, of relationships between each other, our dependence upon one another and the power that the physical body has to express the inexpressible."

-- Frances Turner 

"Many of my bodies are confined and tied up, in struggle or conflict, trapped in a body that is us and not us and through which we negotiate the world.

"Maybe we should resist tendencies that encourage us through an unprecedented flow of erotic commercial images to view the body as a privileged site of utopian transformations. We might then come to recognize in our inevitable imperfections - signs of the only paradise on earth we shall ever know - the evidence of a shared humanity and the occasion for seeking to create a culture in which human life could be a little less terrible and a little less unjust."

-- Frances Turner 

Frances Turner


I just met Frances Turner. I was very happy to. She seemed so happy and all. Her solo show in New York. She was with her delightful, loving partner. They were going on to Mexico on holiday. Although her work seems to present the darker side of the human condition - her own face was brightness beaming at you.

Frances came to our NY Fair. When you saw her she had the look of an earnest observer which would soon break into a clever grin. At the Foundation benefit at the Eagle her laughter percolated over. She knew great joy. She made you happy she was there. We went to dinner after her opening. She was all smiles.

I fell in love with one of her small paintings. I loved having the opportunity to meet her. She seemed to be having the time of her life...

I feel she was yanked away from the world far, far too soon.

Foundation Board Member

Dinner photos: Les Barany

In 1965, Frances Turner was born in Manchester, England. In 1966 her family moved to Bath. Turner moved to London in 1983 and there, until 1986, studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. For five years she worked as an actor at regional and West End theaters while exploring painting by doing portraits of her fellow thespians. It was not until 1991 that she started studying art at the Wimbelton School of Art, and from 1996 Œtill 1998 was at Saint Martinšs College of Art and Design. In that same year the artist returned to Wimbelton as a tutor.

In 2001 Frances Turner was taken on as a Lecturer of Fine Arts at Newham College and invited to be a visiting tutor at the Hellenic Cultural Institute in Mexico City in 2000 and 2001.

National Portrait Gallery:
BP Award Exhibition 1996-2001

L to R: Tammey Stubbs,
Frances Turner, Pet Silvia

The Portrait Award, now in it's twenty second year at the National Portrait Gallery in London, is a highly successful annual event aimed at encouraging young artists to focus upon the theme of portraiture within their work. The entire competition is judged from original paintings and an exhibition of works selected from the entries is mounted every summer at the NPG for three months.

Since 1990 the competition has received over 600 entries annually out of which an average of 60 paintings a year are exhibited. Frances Turner has been chosen to exhibit at the show five times (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 & 2001).

Selected Exhibitions:


Flesh in Oil, Art @ Large, New York City


MACO (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca) OAXACA, MEXICO

Group Sex II, Art @ Large, New York City


Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City, Mexico

BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London, England


British Council Gallery (Solo), Mexico City, Mexico

Leighton House Gallery, London, England


Jacob K. Javits Centre, New York, USA

National Portrait Gallery, London, England

Gagaliardi Gallery, Kings Road, London, England


Windows Gallery, Charing Cross Road, London, England

Beatrice Royal Contemporary Art, Eastleigh, Hants, England

Merton Open Exhibition, London, England

National Portrait Gallery BP Award, National Gallery, London, England

Erotica Expo, Olympia, London, England

Ministry of Sound, London, England


Railings Gallery, New Cavendish Street, London, England

Merton Open Exhibition, London, England

National Portrait Gallery BP Award, National Gallery, London, England


Railings Gallery, New Cavendish Street, London, England

Merton Open Exhibition, London, England

Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Mall Gallery, London, England

National Portrait Gallery BP Award, National Gallery, London, England

Gagliardi Gallery, London, England


Pumphouse Gallery, Battersea, London, England

Gagliardi Gallery, Kings Road, London, England

1994 Fresh Art, Design Centre, London, England

FARA Exhibition, Bonhams, London, England


Fresh Art, Design Center, London, England

Awards & Lectures:

2000 - 2003:

Visiting Tutor in Fine Art, Instituto Cultural Helenico, Mexico


 Guest Lecturer, Museo Universitario del Chopo

2001 - 2003:

Lecturer in Fine Art, Newham College, London, England

2000 - 2003:

Visiting Tutor in Fine Art, Instituto Cultural Helenico, Mexico

1998 - 2003:

Tutor in Fine Art, Wimbledon School of Art London, England


Rootstein Hopkins Foundation Award for painting.


Carroll Foundation Award. Royal Society of Portrait Painters


1996 - 1998:

MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, England

1991 - 1994:

BA Hons Fine Art. Painting, Wimbledon School of Art, London, England

1983 - 1986:

Higher Diploma, Acting, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, England