Ke Francis is a professor of Art at Central Florida State University, and also writes and illustrates his own artist's books which he then publishes through Hoopsnake Press, a limited-edition press which he founded and still runs from his studio. Francis has exhibited extensively throughout the southern United States since the 1980s, including several major exhibitions with the Bill Lowe Gallery. His work is included in the permanent collections of museums nationwide, including the J. Paul Getty Foundation in Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, the High Museum in Atlanta, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Master printmaker, painter and sculptor Ke Francis evokes the tragic effects of disaster, while simultaneously celebrating the resiliency of the human spirit, all within imagery which bears the artist's marks of their creation. Imagery of tragedy and cataclysms such as tornadoes, animal traps, and wounded -soldiers- are juxtaposed with ancient symbols of victory (the goddess Nike) and icons of harmony (tuning forks) in order to express the interdependency of and delicate balance between pleasure and pain, rejoicing and mourning; and all acting as a stage for individual human will and determination.
"Collectively, Francis' work can be seen as an attempt to represent that psychic landscape that is the mental space of the human mind; it is an attempt to show that while it is littered with trauma and pleasure, despair and hope, through the creative will anything is possible."
-Howard Risatti, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University
1945 Memphis, Tennessee. Raised in Tupelo, Mississippi where he
lived most of his life.
1969-1971 Professor of Sculpture at Cleveland Insitute of Art.
1969 B.F.A. IN Sculpture, Cleveland Institute of Art.
1963 Memphis College of Art.
1962 Mississippi State University.
2013 Letter Press Projects from Ringling Center for Book Arts, Selby Gallery, Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
-- Ke Francis:Narrative Works, Mason-Scarfenstein Museum
-- EAST/WEST : Survey of Contemporary Printmaking, University of Louisiana, Lafayette
2012 From Biloxi to Babylon, Florida Mining Gallery, Jacksonville, Florida
-- Come Hell or High Water, Portfolio Exhibition, Southern Graphics Conference,
New Orleans, LA
-- Ke Francis: 1985-2011, Narrative Works, Terrace Gallery, Orlando City Hall,
-- New Works on Paper, MiraMar Gallery, Sarasota, Florida
2011 The Books and Prints of Ke Francis, Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
-- Dixie Icons, Firehouse Gallery, Gainesville, Georgia
-- Off the Wall;An Exhibition of Contemporary Bookarts, Museum of Florida Artists
-- Arrowmont Faculty Exhibition, Arrowmont School of Art and Craft, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
-- Ink and Imagery (Southeastern Print Invitational, Blue Spiral Gallery,
Asheville, North Carolina
-- New Works: Recent Small Works, Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, Florida
The Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA
"Reader's Art 5- national Competitive Exhibition," Susan Hensel
Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
"Recent Acquisitions- Artist's Book Club of San Francisco (Annual
Meeting)," San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
"Picture Show -Selected Works from the MMA Collection," Mississippi
Museum of Art, Jackson, MS
"O - What a Night," Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
"The Story of the South: Part III," Ogden Museum of Southern Art,
New Orleans, LA
"Ke Francis - The Narrative Impulse Books, Prints, Paintings, and
Sculpture," Stetson University, Deland, Florida
"Ke Francis," Montgomery Museum of Art, Montgomery, Alabama
"The Narrative Impulse," University of South Carolina at Sumter,
Sumter, South Carolina
"Small Paintings and Works on Paper: William T. Wiley and Ke
Francis," Jay Etkin Gallery, Memphis, TN "Ke Francis / William T.
Wiley," Memphis College of Art , Memphis, TN
"Outward Bound: American Art at the Brink of the 21st Century,"
Washington, D.C. (traveling)
The Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA.
"Tools As Art : The Hechinger Collection National Building Museum,"
Washington, DC (traveling)
The Lowe Gallery, Santa Monica, California. Two-person show with
Solo exhibition “Beulah Land: A Survey of Major Works”, The Lowe
“A Decade of Paper”, Sylvia Cordish Fine Art, Baltimre, Maryland.
--“Crossing Over, Changing Places”, Sponserd by Philadelphia Print
Club and Pyramid Atlantic Travels under auspices of USIA/Arts
America Program throughout Eastern and Western Europe, Greece,
Turkey, and Israel,1991-1995.
“Hunting and Fishing On The Floor”, Eagle Gallery, Murray State
University, Murray Kentucky.
“Mississippi: An American Sense of Place”, International Monetary
Fund, Washington D.C.
“The Conceptual Impulse: Three Tableau Works”, Security Pacific
Gallery, Los Angeles, California.
“Artist’s Books”, Fendrick Gallery, New York City, New York.
“Recent Prints, Drawings, and Sculpture”, Marcia McCoy Gallery of
Contempoary Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Solo exhibition “Reconstuction: Tornado Series”, Installation,
life-size shelter and video work, Clara Egle Gallery, Murray State
University, Murrary Kentucky.
“the Blues Aesthetic: Black Culture and Moderism”, Waashington
Project fof the Arts, Washington D.C. Tours to New York, Los
Angeles, and Houston.
“Recent Figurative Works: Ke Francis, Randy Hayes and Ed McGowin”,
Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, Mississippi.
“Freneticism”, Valencia Community Collage, Orlando, Florida
“Looking South: A Different Dixie”, Birmingham Museum, Birmingham,
“Southern Arts Federation Touring Sculpture Exhibition”, Southern
Arts Federation, Atlanta, Georgia.
“Fact/Fiction/Fantasy: Recent Narrative Art in the Southeast”, Ewing
Gallery, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee.
“Southern Enigmas: Current Work”, University of Texas at El Paso, El
“Tornado Series: Current Work”, Ssoutheastern Louisiana Unniversity,
Hammond, Louisiana. Solo exhibition
“Now Here/Nowhere”, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg,
Mississippi. Solo ehibition
“A Sense of Place: Contemporary Southern Art”,Minneapolis Collage of
Art and Design Gallery, Minneapolis,Minnesota.
“Watercolor U.S.A. 1986: The Monumental Image”, Springfield Art
Museum, Springfield, Missouri.
“Southern Exposure: Not A Regional Exhibition”, Alternative Museum,
New York City, New York.
“New American Paperworks”, International touring exhibition
organized by the World Print Council.
“More Than Land and Sky: Art from Appalachia National Museum of
American Art” Smithsonian Insitution, Washington D. C., National
J.P.Getty Museum and Libraries Los Angeles, California
Artist's and Rare Book Collection Boston Museum of Fine Art Boston,
National Gallery Washington,D.C.
Artist's Book Collection The National Museum of American Art
Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C. The Library of Congress
Security Pacific Corporation Costa Mesa, California
The Mint Museum Charlotte, North Carolina
The New Orleans Museum New Orleans, Louisianna
The Rose Museum Brandeis University Waltham, Massachusetts
The Mississippi Museum Jackson, Mississippi
The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art Winston-Salem, North
The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum Rutgers, The State University
of New Jersey New Brunswick, New Jersey
The High Museum Atlanta, Georgia
The Birmingham Museum of Art Birmingham, Alabama
Sterling Memorial Library, Rare Book and Artist's Book Collection
Yale University New Haven, Connecticut
Brooks Memorial Art Gallery Memphis, Tennessee
Van-Pelt Dietrich Center, Artist's and Rare Book Collection
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania City of
Orlando Collection City Hall Orlando, Florida
The Library of the University of Georgia Artist's and Rare Book
Collection Athens, Georgia
The Polaroid Collection Boston, Massachusetts
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art San Francisco, CA
AWARDS AND GRANTS
Deep South Humanities Council, 2004-2005
Beck Family Foundation, 2003-2006
Rockefeller Foundation Grant, Bellagio Study Center, Bellagio
Individual Artist Grant, NEA/Mississippi Arts Commission,1988.
Award for Visual Arts, Mississippi Institute of Arts and
Southern Arts Federation/NEA Regional Fellowship in
Edition Purchases from the Rembrandt Society. Artist selected to
produce an edition of 100 woodblock prints. Distributed by the
Mississippi Museum, Jackson, Mississippi,1989.
Polaroid Foundation Grant,1990. Grant to produce a body of
photographs in Italy.
Adaptec Corporation Orlando, Florida
Emeril's Universal Village, Florida
Mighty Distributors Atlanta, Georgia
Auto Zone Collection Memphis, Tennessee
The Hechinger Collection Landover, Maryland
Bankcorp Jackson, Mississippi
Alpert Industries Boston, Massachusetts