Hansen's painting is afloat with elements of recognisable imagery, juxtaposed in a manner that hints at a particular reading of her work. In her 2006 series Split Level, Hansen combined abstract and figurative elements to reference domestic interiors, interspersing the flat, often neutral expanses of interior space with detailed imagery that pinpointed the domestic heritage of NZ culture.
Frances Hansen was born in New Zealand in 1962 and later spent 13 years as an Australian resident, completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Professional Art Studies from the City Art Institute in Sydney before gaining a Diploma of Education from the University of Sydney in 1990. Returning to Auckland at the beginning of 1993, Hansen gained a Masters in Fine Arts (1st Class Honours) at Auckland University's Elam School of Fine Arts and was awarded the Fowlds Memorial Prize as the most distinguished student in the faculty in 1994.
Hansen exhibits regularly throughout New Zealand and Australia, often appearing as a finalist in national art awards including the Wallace Art Awards (2011 & 2010), the Anthony Harper Art Award (2011), the Taranaki Art Awards (2010) and the Trust Waikato National Art Award (2008). In 2011, she won the Walker & Hall Art Award for Painting and was also awarded a publishing contract with Hardie Grant, Melbourne. Her book Keepsakes was published in May 2011. Hansen's work is held in various private and public collections including the New South Wales College of Fine Art Drawing Collection, the University of Auckland and the Wallace Art Trust. Currently Hansen is senior lecturer at the School of Visual Arts at the Manukau Institute of Technology.