One of the most interesting mid-career artists of his generation, Francis’ works are shown in a solo exhibition in an Italian public museum for the first time.
He found his international reputation amongst the Young British Artists at the revolutionary Saatchi exhibition Sensation, hosted by the Royal Academy of London in 1997.
The exhibition Re-Echo presents 15 works made between 2021 and 2022. They show frequencies, wavelengths and vertical frequency ranges typical of energy waves, as if the paintings were capable of capturing and measuring forces that are invisible to the human senses.
Francis makes powerful, optically intense paintings that are driven by the revelatory insights of contemporary science. Filled with a sense of movement and vibrational energy, his paintings combine electric colour contrasts with dynamic patterns and precise brushwork. Fields of colour are shot through with orbs or pulsating linear forms that dissolve or disintegrate, mimicking streams of light, sonic vibrations, or graphs of seismic patterns. Francis’s longstanding fascination and engagement with science provide rich territory for his painting, from the vast cosmic terrains of astronomy to the minute and molecular concerns of mycology. Making striking imagery out of what is normally invisible, he explores the visual worlds made accessible by electron microscopes, or sonic data gathered from outer space. But while the feats of manmade technology inform Francis’s work, the thing of wonder remains the unknowable quantities beyond their reach. This is what Francis uses his imaginative power and painterly skills to conjure – sparking tension between order and chaos, knowledge and mystery that is at the heart of his work. As told by the artist in an interview with the art critic Robert Brown: ‘What’s important about these works is that they are about sound, but it is invented sound. In some ways, they are like a collage of other forms from previous paintings… It’s just a pictorial song and I’m taking a poetic license.’ A special thanks to Luca Tommasi Arte Contemporanea. The catalogue will be published in the course of the show, with a text by the curator and an interview with the artist by Robert Brown.