A retrospective by acrylic painter Joshua S. Franco of Los Rancheros, N.M. is the focus of the new exhibit, A Mine Hole Adventure, on display in the Crayola Gallery at the Banana Factory, 25 W. Third St., Bethlehem now through Aug. 9. The exhibit features vibrant images that invite viewers to bring their own experiences and interpretations to Franco’s mysterious narratives. The show marks his first exhibition in the Lehigh Valley, the region where he was born and raised.
“I believe growing up in the area, among the ghosts and mausoleums of industrial manufacturing might have shaped me differently had it not been for my mother who was also a talented painter,” says Franco. “While I was raised in Allentown, my artistic style developed amid the stunning scenery of the Southwestern U.S. This is the first opportunity for people in my home community to have a chance to see my painting. I am excited to have this body of work in the Valley, where it all began.”
A graduate of Allen High School, Franco studied art at Northampton Community College and Kutztown University and then relocated with his wife, Colleen, to New Mexico. Over the years his work has been featured in galleries and exhibitions throughout the Southwestern U.S., as well as Paris, Korea, China and Japan. In addition, he has been included in various art publications and was featured as an “Artist to Watch” in the May 2009 issue of Southwest Art Magazine. Franco’s work explores the complexity of relationships and the feelings that accompany them – love, desire, longing, fear – subjects familiar to everyone.