McGrath Gallery Schedule

All McGrath events are free and open to the public. The gallery is located in Wyatt Hall on Bellarmine Boulevard off Norris Place, near the intersection of Norris Place and Princeton Drive. Hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday noon - 4 p.m., when the Bellarmine campus is open. Upcoming schedule is below. Visit our Past Exhibits page archival information.

McGrath Gallery and the Bellarmine Fine Arts Department is pleased to welcome Cincinnati based artist, Jason Franz.

Jason will be exhibiting "30 Drawings by Jason Franz" which are beautiful figurative drawings made with ball-point pen and drawn from life. The exhibit runs February 23-April 2. Opening reception is February 23, 2024 5-7pm. This is Jason Franz's first solo show in Louisville and cannot be missed!

Jason Franz Artist Statement


Most of my small life drawings were made in 90 minutes in one sitting with a live model. From a distance, they may appear dim and difficult to see, but upon close inspection, one can see a
frenetic energy of note-taking, analyzing, measuring, defining, and refining. The process of
searching for and noting geometric proportions, reference angles, mass conceptions, and
internal anatomical structure—as well as the vibrancy of living energy in the human body—is
captured and conveyed through the many different layers and modes of working visible in each drawing.

Much like miniatures, these drawings are best experienced when held in the hand or examined
closely. It is important for it to be understood that they are made in a given amount of time. As
such, like human life, they end flawed, incomplete, and marked by the time they took to exist.
Therefore, one can see fully defined areas transitioning into brief gestural notations, glimpses
of the undeveloped but evident form that is still part of the whole.

The drawings are titled by a number representing the year_month_day they were made. Each
drawing is a 90-minute slice of its particular day in time. As such, they are intended to be as
much literal descriptions of what is seen as they are seismographic records of energy spent by
the human hand making marks for a limited time with a given intent.

I've made it my practice to draw from the live model once a week, nearly every week, for the
past 26 years. Over these years, I have taken this practice wherever I've taught, into my own
studio, curated exhibits, and published articles. I have amassed many drawings after two and a
half decades. They embody my teaching and seeing philosophy, including exploring the
merger of design drawing and traditional fine art.

They are about looking, seeing, understanding, and being in the world. They offer a two-fold experience: one of insight into my unselfconscious and unabashedly human hand-eye efforts at drawing from life and of a body of work that serves as a tangible testament to time shared and spent between two living beings —the artist and the model.

Each work, as well as the collective whole, is a measure of time spent in contemplation of the physical manifestation of time—life itself. The ball-point pen has emerged as a favorite medium for me. The idea of using a tool one could find on nearly any office desk to make a drawing that evokes the energy of both a living subject and the living artist is important. My practice has become like Zen ensō painting, which "evidences the character of its creator and the context of its creation in a brief, contiguous period of time."

Jason Franz Bio

Jason Franz is a Cincinnati, Ohio-based artist, educator, curator, and co-founder of the non
profit arts organization Manifest, which he has directed for two decades.
As a Cincinnati native, Franz attended the then museum-school Art Academy of Cincinnati,
receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors in 1988. He received his Master of Fine
Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati (UC) in 1998 after also spending a decade
working in exhibitions at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Franz began his teaching career in 1997. Across a decade and a half, he developed and
taught new courses in the fields of art and design for both the Art Academy of Cincinnati and
the University of Cincinnati. In 2002, he was appointed to head the painting and drawing
programs at Xavier University, where he laid the philosophical groundwork for Manifest, a
nationally impactful visual arts nonprofit, which he co-founded in part with his students in 2004.

From 2008 to 2012, while directing Manifest, he also served as Content Coordinator for the
Foundation Design Drawing program in the School of Design at UC.
In 2019, he developed his first class at the Manifest Drawing Center. "Lyceum: A Culture in the
Pursuit of Quality" was a year-long weekly course for long-time participants of the
organization's co-learning program. In 2021, after a several-year search, he led Manifest’s
board and staff efforts to identify and purchase a historic property that, as of 2024, serves as
the permanent home of the Manifest Drawing Center and which will become The Manifest
Center for the Visual Arts by 2025, folding all exhibition and educational programs under one

As an artist and educator, Jason Franz is the recipient of numerous grants and awards,
including an Ohio Arts Council Fellowship, a Xavier University Faculty Development Grant, two
Darwin Turner teaching awards from the University of Cincinnati, and four Summerfair
Individual Artist Grants. In 2009, he was recognized with a Distinguished Alumnus Award from
the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He is a seven-time Independent Publishers Association (IPPY)
award recipient for his work on Manifest Press’s Exhibition Annual, International Drawing
Annual, and International Photography Annual publications.

Franz has published articles and short essays on drawing, painting, and photography, given
lectures, panel talks, and presentations about Manifest, the philosophy and practice of art, and
drawing as an art form across the U.S., and continues to exhibit his drawings nationally. He
currently has work on view at Baker University in Kansas, and Wright State University in Ohio,
and has a solo show scheduled at New Mexico Highlands University in fall 2024.
He lives with his wife, artist-designer Brigid O’Kane, and artist daughter, Alexandra, in East
Walnut Hills, a historic community near downtown Cincinnati.