Fran studied art and sociology as an undergraduate at Brandeis University and then received an MSW, working for several years with heroin addicts. Discovering that she could indeed earn a living in the arts, she entered Boston University’s School of Fine Arts where, specializing in photography and graphic design, she received her MFA. She has held a succession of positions in the field of design: branding, print, and signage for corporate, arts, and retail establishments; CD-roms for books, museum installations, sales and training; book cover illustrations; animations, multimedia, and web designs.
Most recently, Fran was Senior Designer with AOL Time Warner, where she was designer of the pre-eminent web site devoted to African American culture. Between professional life and raising two daughters, Forman continued to create her personal art, combining her illustrative and photographic skills with a passion for surrealism, paradox, illusion, assemblage, and the dislocations of time and place.
With a background in psychology, design, and photography, I am influenced by the photographic potential of fabricated worlds and the surreal intersection of portraiture, dreams, and memory. My collaged images often begin with the humble tintype portraits of anonymous mid-19th c. Americans. Dressed in theirfinest, posed in the itinerant photographer’s makeshift studio, they sat immobilized,then waited to receive copies of their new ‘instant’ likeness. They paid a penny or less and presented their tiny metal images to loved ones, perhaps to mark a special event in their lives, or before they headed off to battle.Their desire was to be remembered.
I photograph and re-assemble these images into a fabricated environment;I incorporate objects as clues in an attempt to suggest a buried narrativ eand a connection to their past and future. Through them and the worlds in which I place them, I try to make sense of issues of time, relationships,and connections.
My inspiration derives not only from 19th c. photography but chiefly from the 20th c. artists using visual narratives and symbolism to convey ideasand interpretation of the human condition: the juxtaposed assemblages of Joseph Cornell and Max Ernst, the paintings of Rene Magritte, the poetry and photography of Duane Michals, and the ordinary but surreal imagery of Ralph Eugene Meatyard.