‘Born into it’: Visit the St. George Art Museum to see this Santa Fe artist’s landscape magic

IVINS — The work of this Sante Fe contemporary landscape painter is now on display at the St. George Art Museum. But how she creates her work is anything but ordinary.

An Artist’s View: Utah on Foot, Works by Kathleen Frank is on display at the St. George Art Museum at 47 E 200 North in St. George, Utah, Dec. 20, 2023 | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News
An Artist’s View: Utah on Foot, Works by Kathleen Frank is on display at the St. George Art Museum at 47 E 200 North in St. George, Utah, Dec. 20, 2023 | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News

Artist Kathleen Frank seeks out magnificent vistas in real life to depict in her paintings. And she’s hiked hundreds of miles to paint the land of the Southwest and West. 

“I’ve always been into the arts for as far back as I can remember,” Frank said. “I was born into it and I never left.”

Willing to go any length to reach the precise vantage point she is seeking, many of her experiences have included long-distance hiking over rocky outcroppings and sprawling through the sagebrush to capture exactly what she’s drawn to.

She’s never been timid about climbing, trudging and scrambling to reach the bird’s-eye view of the colorful and uniquely rugged landscapes. And that uniqueness shows through onto the canvas.

How she developed as an artist

Frank said she grew up immersed in the arts. From art museums to painting with her parent’s artistic friends, she embraced it all. Through her father’s career as a foreign student advisor, she traveled internationally, visiting students as they returned home to their families. Those travels included art museums and memories she said she’ll never forget.

A painting by Kathleen Frank is titled "Canyon Shadows" | Photo courtesy of Kathleen Frank, St. George News
A painting by Kathleen Frank is titled “Canyon Shadows” | Photo courtesy of Kathleen Frank, St. George News

Spending time at various youth camps, she fell in love with the craft of wood carving. Initially learning from a resident woodcarver, she later took a class at an art center in Fort Collins, Colorado. After having children, she returned to woodcarving as a creative outlet that allowed her to remain in the arts around her kids’ schedule.

Being raised by two teachers, Frank said pursuing the same career felt like the natural path. In college, she majored in art before obtaining a degree in education. 

“I taught art,” she said. “But I really didn’t think about being an artist because I just held them in such high regard. They’re somewhere up in the stars, those artist people.”

In order to teach in Pennsylvania, she returned to college to complete additional credits. That’s when she took a life drawing, figure drawing and printmaking class – an art form she quickly fell in love with. While she dived into oil painting on the side, she and a fellow student opened a printmaking studio.

After four years of running the studio, she decided to turn painting into her full-time career. And it took off.

“I went to New Mexico and I began selling, and it just became more important in my life,” she said. “I was then able to turn my hiking and travels and photography into paintings from all over the west.”

Frank will turn 80 next year, and while she has a past of backpacking, she now focuses more on shorter hikes into the wilderness. This last summer, she took a photographic workshop in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado where guides drove her and her husband into the backcountry.

One of her favorite places of all time to photograph is Bryce Canyon.

An Artist’s View: Utah on Foot, Works by Kathleen Frank is on display at the St. George Art Museum at 47 E 200 North in St. George, Utah, Dec. 20, 2023 | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News
An Artist’s View: Utah on Foot, Works by Kathleen Frank is on display at the St. George Art Museum at 47 E 200 North in St. George, Utah, Dec. 20, 2023 | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News

Frank’s recent and upcoming exhibitions include Northwest Montana History Museum, Kalispell, Montana; The University of New Mexico Valencia, Los Lunas, New Mexico; International Art Museum of America, San Francisco, California; The MonDak Heritage Center | Art & History Museum, Sidney, Montana; St. George Museum of Art, St. George, Utah; and WaterWorks Art Museum, Miles City, Montana.

Publications highlighting her work include, among others, Western Art & Architecture; LandEscape Art Review, London; Southwest Art; Art Folio; Artwork Gallery Magazine, Kyiv, UKR; Modern Renaissance, Washington, DC; Artful News and Notes, New Mexico State Committee/National Museum of Women in the Arts; ART UP MI, Milan; MVIBE Magazine, New York; Art Hole Magazine, London; Fine Art Connoisseur; Western Art Collector; Magazine 43, Berlin, Hong Kong and Manila; Monk Magazine, UK; Monograph, Calcutta; and CALYX, Journal of Art and Literature by Women.

Frank is represented by Christopher Clark Fine Art, San Francisco, California; La Posada de Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Saks Gallery | Cherry Creek Art Gallery, Denver, Colorado; and JJ Gillespie Gallery, McMurray, Pennsylvania. 

An Artist’s View: Utah on Foot, Works by Kathleen Frank is on display at the St. George Art Museum at 47 E. 200 North in St. George from now until Feb. 24. A closing reception will take place Feb. 2 from 6-8 p.m.

For more information on Kathleen Frank and a gallery of her work, visit her website.

Photo Gallery

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.

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