April 19 – May 16, 2019

Roll Up Project is pleased to present paintings and sculptures by Frances Lerner. Lerner’s paintings explore the lives of everyday people through a fictional narrative. Lerner paints from a variety of sources, including a collection of puppets, dioramas, YouTube video stills, and photographs. The resulting paintings are evocative and moody, hinting at a larger storyline.

Lerner recently began working with wool, and the resulting felted sculptures echo her approach to painting.  In these abstract works, colors blend and morph, occasionally revealing the gridded wire mesh upon which they are felted. Like her painting, the majority of colors are muted and neutral, with patches of vibrant and eye-catching pinks, oranges, and yellows.

The Harrison Street windows feature paintings paired with sculptures. Dickensonian Coalescence, the central painting, is an abstract composition with blocks of color in greens, tans, and blues. Below it, the soft sculpture entitled Yellow/Purple extends the color blocks into three dimensions. The sculpture’s yellow, white, and purple fabrics draw the viewer’s eye to the foreground, and suggest the painting as a sort of background, or continuation of the scene. The two smaller paintings flanking Dickensonian Coalescence depict puppets: a policeman and a figure with arms raised. Framed like stills from a movie, they hint at a narrative story. Lerner’s aesthetic moves back and forth between figuration and abstraction, and the felted pieces hanging below the paintings reflect on her relationship with both.

In the Third Street windows, new works on paper entitled Waiting Room and Work Break depict abstracted interiors in muted tones. Below them, framed felt sculptures act as abstract counterpoints. Through medium, color, and form, Lerner’s work invokes the natural tension between human emotions like tenderness, strength, and joy.

About the artist

Frances Lerner’s artwork explores the themes of “there but for the grace of God go I” and “the meek shall inherit the earth.” Through narrative and abstract compositions, Lerner creates artwork that reflects on everyday life. Her artwork has been displayed at Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco and William Havu Gallery in Denver, and is held in the collections of the Berkeley Art Museum and the University of San Francisco, among others. She earned an MFA and MA from the University of Iowa and a BFA from Ohio State University.

To learn more about Frances Lerner’s artwork, visit her website.


Waiting Room, 2017-2019
oil on Arches paper
27 1/2 x 21 inches
Felt, 2018-2019
wool and old wire grate
3 1/2 x 6 3/8 inches
Work Break, 2018-2019
oil on Arches paper
20 1/2 x 28 1/2 inches
Felt, 2018
wool and old wire grate
6 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches


Arrest 2, 2012
oil on wood panel
14 3/4 x 12 inches
Felt, 2019
wool and wire
4 x 4 1/2 x 3 inches
Dickensonian Coalescence, 2016
oil on wood panel
30 x 20 inches
Yellow/Purple, 2016
wood bellows, wool, silk, leather, and metal loom
8 x 13 x 13 inches
Arrest 1, 2012
oil on wood panel
11 x 14 inches
Felt, 2019
wool and hat wire
7 x 5 x 4 3/4 inches