Di ffrench was born in Melbourne in 1946 and came to live in New Zealand with her parents at age sixteen. She first exhibited in the late seventies in Wisconsin, USA (where her husband, Peter Nicholls studied for his MA) and afterwards showed in group exhibitions at the Women’s Gallery, Wellington.
In 1984, The Opinion was presented by Auckland City Art Gallery, followed the next year by Robert McDougall Art Gallery Christchurch. ffrench participated in Content/Context, Shed II, National Art Gallery, Wellington in 1986 and consistently held solo exhibitions in New Zealand from 1987.
From March – May 2009, Dunedin Public Art Gallery held the first major survey of Di ffrench’s work (Activating Ideas) since her untimely death in 1999. Twenty years of work (1977 – 1997) was displayed, from photography, sculpture, performance and film.
The Fundamental Series:
A collection of photographs which portray male athletes as they were shown in ancient Greek sculptures. ffrench wanted to display the physical power and unselfconscious display of physical confidence which male athletes appeared to develop.
The Hunter Warrior Series:
This series adopts the stance of aggressors, yet they carry no weapons, nor are there any victims. In disarming them, ffrench focuses our attention on a more positive aspect of aggression – a necessity for survival, energy to be used wisely.