There is something ineffable about Frances Waite’s work, but that in itself – a word to describe having none – seems to not do enough. One could be forgiven for recognising her work, but not being able to place it – she has received significant exposure in the art hubs of London and New York, but is also responsible for the album artwork of popular electronic group POLIÇA’s most recent full-length release. Of course, her frequent return to the nude form is memorable enough, but still, her sketches – pencil and paper remain her medium of choice – are brimming with potential that is hard to forget; they seem to be holding on to our dimension by the thinnest of threads, always ready to move past the bounds of reality, or more aptly, break free.
Perhaps it is the recurrent flame imagery that primes the viewer for each scene to quickly become a fiery inferno, or the alert, if not inviting gaze of Waite’s sitters, particularly in settings of great vulnerability, that suggests a kind of existential slip into fantasy. No matter, Waite’s scenes, at once sultry and lustful, do not shy away from fantasy’s (read: desire’s) pernicious undertones: sensuality becomes brusque, if not self-serving, while the human form is shown with a realist paunch and fumbling approach. In turn, what is made recognisable and alluring is equal parts foreign and disenchanting – all while remaining magnetic.