Frances Aviva Blane

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Frances Blane (right) with Marliese Heimann-Ammon.

Frances Aviva Blane (born Frances Aviva Sternberg Hampstead, London)[1][2][3] is an English abstract painter who works in the Expressionist tradition. Her subject matter is the disintegration of paint and personality. Blane also draws. However, whereas her paintings are mainly non-referential, the drawings are often of heads, although, as in her paintings, the "heads" are deconstructed which echo her words "broken-up paint, broken-up heads". In 2014, her drawings were shown in an exhibition entitled Deconstruct[4] at De Queeste Kunstkamers, Belgium alongside shows of work by Louise Bourgeois and Francis Bacon. She has exhibited internationally in the UK, Europe, Australia and Japan.

“They are desperate paintings, fetching isolated and sombre emotion from the deep recesses – they are 'primeval, before language, dredged from the back of your mind'. They are Beckett-like landscapes and express something like anxiety, unease, restlessness, all tinged with melancholy or plain sadness.”

Dr Edward Winters, West Dean College, 2005, from the introduction in the catalogue[5] for Frances Aviva Blane's show, Prime Time: Painting, Frances Aviva Blane – paintings & drawings 2006 at Galerie Seitz & Partner, Berlin, January – February 2006

“Blane’s drawings are not for the faint-hearted. They are very demanding and what they demand is attention. Blane seeks to find the least number of marks that will carry the emotional energy she pours into every work. Such loaded distillations require input and work on the part of the viewer as well. They incite a response. ‘I want to make a mark that no has ever seen before.’ And so she does.”

Doris Lockhart Saatchi, London, 2005, from the introduction in the catalogue [6] for Frances Aviva Blane's show, Prime Time: Painting, Frances Aviva Blane: paintings & drawings 2006 at Galerie Seitz & Partner, Berlin, January – February 2006

Blane is the daughter of the late Sir Sigmund Sternberg.


Blane studied at Chelsea School of Art (1988), Byam Shaw School of Painting and Drawing (1991) and the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1993).


Blane is represented in Belgium by De Queeste Art Gallery.


NOTHING by Frances Aviva Blane,[7] a book of paintings and works on paper with a catalogue essay by Diana Souhami was published by Starmount Publications in 2015. EMBASSY a book of paintings and drawings chronicling Blane's exhibition at the German Embassy London with introduction by Tess Jaray RA was published in 2017.


Installation view (2016) of Frances Aviva Blane show Two Faces at the German Ambassador's Residence, London

Blane's first show in London was curated by Andrew Mummery, a British gallerist. She is also an award-winner of the Jerwood Drawing Prize (1999) and took part in their exhibition Drawing Breath, an anniversary show.

Blane has been included in many group shows including Chora[8] (London and touring the UK) curated by art critic Sue Hubbard and Women's Contemporary Self Portraits at the Usher Gallery (Lincoln and touring). Blane also showed at the Annely Juda Gallery in the exhibition Annely Juda – A Celebration. She has had two-handed exhibitions with Basil Beattie and John Mclean, both prominent British abstract painters.

She was sponsored by the British Council and the Goethe Institut to take part in a painting swap with German artists. She has also exhibited at The Architectural Biennale in Clerkenwell in 2004 and at Our Most Holy Redeemer Church in Exmouth Market.

Selected solo shows[edit]

  • Blane. Broken Heads, Broken Paint[9], 12 Star Gallery at Europe House, London 2018
  • Two Faces, a show of work by Frances Aviva Blane, The German Ambassador's Residence, London, 2016 – 2017[10][11][12][13]
  • Deconstruct, Frances Aviva Blane shown alongside exhibitions of Francis Bacon and Louise Bourgeois, De Queeste Kunstkamers, Abele/Watou, Belgium, 2014[14][15]
  • Big Black Paintings, Bay Hall, Kings College, London, 2014[16][17]
  • Frances Aviva Blane, Paintings & Drawings, De Queeste Kunstkamers, Abele/Watou, Belgium, 2013[18]
  • Paintings and Works on Paper, Quest 21, Brussels, 2011[19]
  • Portrait/Painting, Shillam and Smith3 London, 2006
  • Prime Time: Painting, Frances Aviva Blane – paintings & drawings at Galerie Seitz & Partner, Berlin, 2006 [20]
  • Paintings in The Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer, ecArtspace, Exmouth Market, London, 2004
  • Frances Aviva Blane Paintings and Drawings ecArtspace in conjunction with London Architecture Biennale, St John's Street EC1, 2004
  • Delinquent Paintings, ecArtspace, 2001[21]
  • Berry House Solo x 9: artists in Clerkenwell – including Susan Hiller, 1998[22]
  • Frances Aviva Blane Drawing, Shillam Smith 3, 1997[23]
  • F Blane Only, curated by Andrew Mummery, London, 1996
  • Curwen Gallery, London, curated by Andrew Mummery, 1995

Selected group shows[edit]

  • John Moores Painting Prize[24], Walker Gallery, Liverpool 2018
  • HUMAN, The German Embassy, London, October 2017
  • Creekside Open 2017 selected by Jordan Baseman
  • Liquid Thought,[25] with Daniel Enkaoua and Chris Stevens, De Queeste Kunstkamers, Abele/Watou, Belgium, 2016
  • Impact, with Louise Bourgeois, Marthe Zink, De Queeste Kunstkamers, Abele/Watou, Belgium, 2016[26]
  • Jerwood Drawing Prize 2015 – 2016. London and UK tour
  • De Vage Grens, with Frank Auerbach, Reniere&Depla, etc. De Queeste Kunstkamers, Abele/Watou, Belgium, 2015
  • Critics Circle, Selector Corinna Lotz, Mall Galleries, London, 2013[27]
  • Drawing Breath, Jerwood Anniversary Exhibition,[28] London, Sydney, Bristol 2006 – 2008
  • Annely Juda A Celebration. Annely Juda Fine Art, London 2007
  • Marlborough Fine Art, The London Print Fair, 2006
  • Blind Art, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, 2005
  • Sense and Sensuality, Blind Art, London, New York, Leicester, 2006[29]
  • Blind Art, Royal College of Art, London, 2005
  • Weiss zieht und gewinnt, Galerie Seitz & Partners, Berlin, 2005
  • Small is Beautiful, Flowers Central, London, 2004
  • Very British?, Arbeiten von Britschen Kunstlerinnen with Tacita Dean, Mike Silva, Die Drostei, Pinneberg, 2004
  • The Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries London, 2004
  • Art Works in Mental Health, Royal College of Art, London, touring Cardiff, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester, 2003
  • Dialogue with Nigel Ellis, ecArtspace London, 2002[30]
  • Absolut Secret, Royal College of Art, London, 2002 − 2004, 2006 − 2010
  • Drawings for All, Gainsborough's House, Suffolk, 2002
  • The Contemporary Art Society, Art Futures, 2002
  • German and English Painting Swap, Berlin/London, sponsored by the British Council and Goethe institut, 2002
  • Drawing – Frances Aviva Blane with Basil Beattie, ecArtspace, London, 2001[31][32]
  • Galerie Stuhler, Berlin, 2000, 2001
  • Jerwood Open Drawing Show award winner touring Berlin and Ghent, 2000
  • Before, Now and After with Helen Sears and Sheila Gaffney, Berlin and London, 2000[33]
  • Painting with John Mclean, 53–54 St John's Square, London, 2000
  • Chora, curated by Sue Hubbard, London and touring, 1999–2000[34]
  • The Cheltenham Open Drawing Show, 1999
  • Small is Beautiful, Flowers Gallery East, 1999–2003
  • In The Looking Glass, women contemporary self-portraits, Usher Gallery Lincoln and touring, 1996
  • The London Group  Biennial exhibition, Barbican Centre, 1995
  • Royal Academy of Art, Summer Exhibition, 1995
  • Into the Nineties, Pick of the Postgraduates, showcase of new artists, Mall Galleries, 1993[35]


  • Jerwood Drawing Prize, 1999
  • Mid-America ART Alliance Fellowship for Visual Arts, 1998
  • Residency at Djerassi Artists' Foundation, California, 1998
  • Graham Hamilton Drawing Prize, 1991


Blane had a residency in 1998 at the Djerassi resident Art Programme in California founded by Carl Djerassi.


Her work is in many collections including Jesus College Cambridge,[36] LSE,[37] Moorfields Eye Hospital,[38] The Sternberg Centre, The Usher Gallery,[39] Lincoln, the Tim Sayer Collection London, the Doris Jean Lockhart Collection and Three Faiths Forum[40] London.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "De Queeste Gallery show – Deconstruct". De Queeste Art. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Frances Aviva Blane Paintings (1,500 ed.). London: ecArtspace Ltd. 2005. ISBN 0-9537826-5-4. 
  6. ^ Frances Aviva Blane Drawings (1,500 ed.). London: ecArtspace Ltd. 2005. ISBN 0-9537826-6-2. 
  7. ^ Blane, Frances (30 September 2015). NOTHING (1,000 ed.). London: Starmount Publications. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-9934218-0-8. 
  8. ^ Hubbard, Sue. "Chora Frances Aviva Blane 1999". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Weston, Jane. "Preview of Frances Aviva Blane's latest show – Broken Heads Broken Paint". Glass Magazine Online. Retrieved 3 June 2018. 
  10. ^ Lotz, Corinna. "It isn't masks now, it's faces – Two Faces, paintings and drawings by Frances Aviva Blane, is at the German Ambassador's Residence, 34 Belgrave Square SW1, until 31 January 2017". The Critics' Circle. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  11. ^ "Two Faces: Frances Aviva Blane". De Queeste Art. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  12. ^ "Vernissage of 'Two Faces' – a new exhibition at the Ambassador's Residence". German Missions in the United Kingdom. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  13. ^ Pizzichini, Lilian. "Two Faces Opens at German Ambassador's Residence, London". The Purpose of It. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  14. ^ Lui, Louise. "The Three Bs in Belgium". The Glass Magazine Online. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  15. ^ Simpson, Caroline. "Draw You In". The Glass Magazine Online. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  16. ^ Gulliver, John. "You'll be driven to abstraction by Blane exhibition in Hampstead, Camden New Journal". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  17. ^ "Frances Aviva Blane, Big Black Paintings, Hampstead School of Art". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  18. ^ Kos Earle, Nico. "The mark of FAB". The Glass Magazine Online. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  19. ^ Lotz, Corinna. "Heart of darkness". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Before and after". Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  21. ^ "Delinquent Paintings Frances Aviva Blane". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  22. ^ "Berry House Solo x 9: artists in Clerkenwell". 
  23. ^ Lotz, Corinna. "21st Century Art Frances Aviva Blane". 
  24. ^ Lotz, Corinna. "In the Beginning was the Mark". Real Democracy Movement. Retrieved 3 June 2018. 
  25. ^ "Liquid Thought". De Queeste Art. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  26. ^ "Impact". De Queeste Art. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 
  27. ^ Kos Earle, Nico. "Frances Aviva Blane: Critics Choice at Critics Circle show at Mall Galleries". The Glass Magazine Online. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  28. ^ "Drawing Breath: Jerwood Drawing Prize 2007". Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  29. ^ "Gallery, Blind Art Sense and Sensuality: Touch". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  30. ^ "Frances Blane + Nigel Ellis". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  31. ^ "Dialogue – Frances Blane + Nigel Ellis". Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  32. ^ "Drawing ecArtspace, London". Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  33. ^ Philppi, Andrea. "Replicants, dark depths and an eroded Venus B Before, Now and After – a show in Berlin and in London". Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  34. ^ Hubbard, Sue. "Chora Frances Aviva Blane". Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  35. ^ Alberge, Dalya. "Contemporary Art Market: Unknowns given a showcase". The Independent. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  36. ^ "Jesus College Cambridge". 
  37. ^ "LSE". 
  38. ^ "Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  39. ^ "The Usher Gallery". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  40. ^ "Three Faiths Forum". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 

External links[edit]