Frances Rookes

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FRANCES ROOKES – Mixed Media Artist

Frances is a second generation New Zealander of Scottish-Swedish descent, who lives and works in Taranaki.

She was a silkscreen artist for 8 years and worked 9 years in Early Childhood Education.

In the spaces between raising her children she followed up her art endeavours and in 2002 completed a 3 year Diploma in Fine Arts. Since then she has been making art and exhibiting.

Frances is a 4th Dan Taekwon-Do Black Belt and practises Yoga.

Her early art experiences were based around painting and drawing which she continues to revisit between creating mixed media works and knitted wire sculptures. She is not loyal to any particular art making method and will work with whatever materials or media she feels will best express her ideas.

The delicate wire forms she began creating in 2002 are deliberately feminine or relate to activities seen traditionally as female. The often skeletal, suspended, doll sized, frontal forms intentionally reinvented make reference to a long battle with illness during adolescence and early adulthood. A battle she shared with, and eventually lost her sister to. She draws on that experience to speak visually about influencing factors on that journey including family history, genetic predisposition, educational ideologies, experimental social change, relentless consumer marketing and the ever present influence of the media. Interestingly she had begun the visual exploration of these factors well before coming to the realisation that her works were such a self referencing personal investigation; that insight drives her process. Due to the aesthetic in this area of her work, symbolism may not be immediately obvious but there is a purposeful consistency in the materials and forms she repeatedly uses.

In 2010 she was invited to participate in a New Zealand exhibition held in Cassino, Italy, to coincide with the annual liberation, peace and remembrance celebrations. One of the shows intentions was to acknowledge the strong bonds that developed between the Kiwis and Italians. Due to her families involvement during both world wars, the research into this initial project and the ensuing exhibitions there, have taken her works into new territory. She continues to work around war related themes of peace and remembrance and has become particularly interested in the role of women during wartime. Her 2010 opening night talk can be seen at

Frances won the 2003 National Taranaki Art Awards Sculpture prize with her piece ‘Three Wise Women’ and the same year was a finalist in the Wallace Art Awards with ‘To be Re-informed’.

In 2008 she won the National Taranaki Arts Photography Award and in 2014 received highly commended in Fibre Art for her piece "Time to get Weaving".

Her mixed media sculptures are in collections both nationally and internationally.

In May 2014 she exhibited again in Cassino and then in Paris, France at ‘Rivoli59’ in the November.

Exhibition History
Needles to Say - Graduate exhibition (Nov 2002)
Come to Life -Tamarillo Gallery, Wellington (May 2003)
Taranaki Art Awards - Winner Sculpture award.(April 2003)
Wallace Art Awards – Wallace Trust Gallery, Auckland(Aug 2003)
Tarts in K.Rd - The Gully Lounge Gallery, Auckland (Nov 2003)
Escape Artists - Gallery 547, Hamilton (Mar 2004)
The Graduate - The Percy Thomson Gallery, Stratford. (Sept 2004)
X-Factor - The Percy Thomson Gallery, Stratford. (Mar 2005)
Vanitas - Upstairs Gallery of Fine Arts, Whitianga. (June 2005)
Vanitas - Virtual exhibition (July 2005)
Taranaki Collection - The Percy Thomson Gallery, Stratford (July 2006)
Cities-of-Art - Port Moody Arts Centre, Port Moody, Canada (Aug 2007)
X 5 – 2nd Edition - Fritz Rueter Gallery, Taranaki. (Feb 2008)
NZ MADE – The Plymouth International Hotel, New Plymouth. (Jun 08)
Riversdale Annual Art Exhibition – Riversdale, Southland. (Jul 08)
Wax Women’s Art Awards – Gisborne (Oct 2008)
Taranaki National Art Awards 2008 - Winner photographic award.
Whakatane Summer Arts Festival –Molly Morpeth Canaday, guest exhibitior (Jan 2009)
Imagine – The Plymouth International Hotel (June 2009)
Dramatic Art - Percy Thomson Gallery, Stratford (Feb/Mar 2010)
Creative Juices II - Fritz Rueter Gallery, Taranaki. (Feb/Mar 2010)
Legato – Mueso Biblioteca, Cassino, Lazio. Italy (May 2010)
Legato – Caprile, Italy (May 2010 – Jan 2011)
Legato NZ – Wallace Trust Gallery Feb/Mar 2011
Reconfiguration – Real Tart Gallery, New Plymouth Feb/Mar 2011
Reflections of Italy – Academy of Fine Arts – Wellington (May 2011)
Renegades – Pukeariki Museum/Gallery – New Plymouth (August 2011)
Blown Away with Glass – Percy Thompson Gallery Dec/Jan 2012/13
Take Heart – Virtualtart (Feb 2014)
Wired – Mint Gallery, Whitianga (Apr/Aug 2014)
Legato - Museo Biblioteca Cassino Italy (May 2014)
Homework - Pukeariki Museum, Taranaki (June 2014)
Taranaki National Art Awards - highly recommended award Fibre Arts (Oct/Nov 2014)
Taranaki a Paris – Rivoli59, Paris, France (Nov 2014)
Connections - Percy Thompson Gallery (April 2016)

Works can be seen at her home studio space or on
contact – 027 2024500 or email at rookesmft @ (take out spaces)

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