Simultaneously nurturing and gently admonishing, Tapp Francke’s (b. 1971) latest mirror series re-privileges its viewers with the dichotonic push/pull of self-reflection. The mirrored background requires participants to confront themselves, with implorations “love me” or “kiss me” in script across their reflected faces. In their varying neon colors, from cool blue to bright pinks, the words absorb an individuated character, reflected by the custom-made frame surrounding it. Both language and color hold inherently and intimately personal meanings and the viewer is literally central to the piece in the reflection that appears when they lean in to read the colored words. More meditative works, such as the soft white “you are here” and even the gentle blue of “hello,” remind the participant to soak in the present moment, allowing oneself to lethargically drink in the glow of the neon and the message of the words.
Since her early photography career, Francke has always maintained an incessant interest in color and its multi-layered meanings. At once universal and specific, color represents a vehicle by which to understand yourself; reactions to color are visceral, immediately assimilated before refinement. Paying homage to the neon literature of Conceptual artists of the 1970s, Francke teases out a unique mode of understanding with carefully chosen frames and a reflective background. Love yourself, she implores, in an ethereal, pure white, surrounded by dark baroque wood; you are here, she reminds, in a simple and unadorned silver, reminiscing about the many singular moments that have brought her viewers here before her work.
Tapp Francke was born in New York and studied at Concord Academy, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, St. Martin College of Art, and the University of St. Andrews. She currently lives and works in both Southampton and New York City.
She has received, among others, the Penny McCall Foundation Grant and NY Press Award, and her work is held in both public and private collection such as the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the J. Jill Coporation, The Penny McCall Collection, the Henry Buhl Collection, Barclay’s Bank in London, the University of Michigan, and Man Investments. Art critics have highlighted her work in publications such as The New York Art World, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.