Posted: 18 November 2011 by Eleanor Mills RA Magazine
Anthony Francis, an alumnus of the RA Schools, combines science and art on canvas by mixing silicone and oil paint. His new paintings form the show ‘Looking Glass Land’ at Sarah Myerscough Fine Art
(until 27 November). The exhibition is a sea of colour. His works are bold, brightly-coloured, abstract phenomena, some of his canvases are flat, while others are built up into 3D relief.
Francis’s working processes are quasi-scientific experiments. His 3D canvases involve layers of silicone-mixed oil paint, squirted straight from a tube: ‘I use a homemade nozzle, custom-made to exactly the same width as a standard paint tube,’ he says. You really want to touch Francis’s intertwining vines of colour when you see them, but he insists that you’re only allowed to ‘if you own the work!’ His serpentine lines of colour recall the work of Jackson Pollock, and when asked if he sees the iconic Abstract Expressionist as an influence, Francis responds, ‘of course’.
Another Abstract Expressionist, Mark Rothko, inspires Francis’s flat canvases. Rothko’s meditation on a child’s use of touch to perceive space informs Francis’s process of ‘painting directly onto opaque plastic sheets, building layers of paint up and using collage between them.’ But Francis only sees the back of the work while making it. He is working blind, much like Rothko’s child who feels their way, rather than sees it. Francis then peels the painted layers from the plastic sheet, turns it around and mounts it onto canvas to reveal what we see in the exhibition. Anthony Francis has a highly individual and expressive approach to making art, so pop by Sarah Myerscough Fine Art in Mayfair to see it while you can.
We spoke to Anthony Francis at the opening of his exhibition: