Mark Francis: Ocean Light
Galerie Forsblom, March 2–April 20, 2019
Opening with the artist in attendance on March 21, 2019, 5–7 PM
In his seemingly abstract paintings, Mark Francis (b. 1962) visualizes what cannot be seen with the naked eye. Springing from his scientific interest, Francis’ oil paintings explore ideas related to the mechanisms of the universe. His irregular, luminously pulsating lines are reminiscent of wavelengths measuring the frequency of light coming from objects in the universe. The patterns in his paintings appear to lay down the order in a world of chaos, yet the strict regularity of his compositions is disrupted by a pervasive element of turmoil.
Although his visual approach is systematic, Francis otherwise works very intuitively. The initial scientific idea might fade into the background as a subtle allusion while the painting process takes over. His style is characterized by subtle layering, rhythmic repetitions, and irregular disruptions of ordered patterns. The sharp colour contrasts are softened by the haziness of the lines. Francis creates the sliding colour effects and blurred outlines by applying runny paint through pipettes of varied sizes; he then tilts and shakes the canvas to let the paints run freely across its surface.
Born in Northern Ireland, Francis studied at Saint Martins School of Art and Chelsea School of Art in London. His work is represented in such acclaimed collections as Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, New York’s Metropolitan Museum and the Saatchi Collection. The artist is based in London.