Rose Frantzen's "In the Face of Illusion" Raises Questions about How We See Ourselves & Others

Nov 29, 2017

Artist Rose Frantzen grew up in Maquoketa and started painting portraits when she was in high school. Since then, she’s gained national and international acclaim for her oil paintings. She lives and works with her husband, Chuck Morris, an acclaimed artist of his own right.

Chuck Morris and Rose Frantzen in Rose's studio
Credit Emily Woodbury

Iowa seems like an unlikely destination for two very successful artists who met in New York City’s Central Park, but Rose Frantzen and Chuck Morris have made Maquoketa their home, their workplace, and an artistic destination.

"I felt like it was kind of a crime that culture migrated to the big cities, and we lost all that in the small towns," says Morris. "I heard that Rose and her parents had bought the Old City Hall and had a gallery there, and I said, 'You're my hero.'"

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe visits with Frantzen and Morris to talk their work, collaborative process, and vision for the Maquoketa Art Experience, a non-profit offering art classes, exhibitions of great regional art, and a creativity café on Main Street.

Chuck Morris, standing in front of his work, "The Storytelling Tree"
Credit Emily Woodbury

They also discuss Frantzen’s new show, "In the Face of Illusion," that features portraits of people integrated with optical illusions. They hope it raises questions about how people perceive others as well as themselves.

"There are evolutionary pressures that make us [perceive] this division, just like there are evolutionary pressures that make us see optical illusions, and until we become aware of that, we won't be kind enough to the other, or ourselves, to forgive ourselves for failing," says Frantzen. "I'm not going to bridge the divide. I'm going to contribute to building the bridge, because this can only happen through all of us."

"In the Face of Illusion" will be showing at the Maquoketa Art Experience through February 10th. The Maquoketa Art Experience is also hosting a holiday celebration on Sunday, December 10, 2017 from 4-7 p.m.