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Lot 143: Mark Francis (b.1962)Repeater (2006)Oil on canvas, 152.5 x 122cm (60 x 48'')Signed, inscribed with title and dated 2006. (AR 214:06)Provenance: With the Kerlin Gallery, Dublin.Mark Francis was born in 1962 in Newtownard, Northern Ireland. He s
December 7, 2016
Dublin 2, Dublin, IrelandLive Auction
Description: Mark Francis (b.1962)Repeater (2006)Oil on canvas, 152.5 x 122cm (60 x 48'')Signed, inscribed with title and dated 2006. (AR 214:06)Provenance: With the Kerlin Gallery, Dublin.Mark Francis was born in 1962 in Newtownard, Northern Ireland. He studied Fine Art Painting at St Martins and Chelsea Schools of Art in London, where he currently resides. This present example reflects his practice over the past thirty years of making paintings with singular optical intensity - powerful, apparently abstract combinations of concentrated patterning and stark colour contrasts. There is an almost minimalist aesthetic to this work, the meaning contained within its linear quantifiable elements. Francis has divided the canvas up into forty-six vertical lines and twelve oblong-shaped masses, set against a bright electric red hue. And yet the lines bleed and blur into one another disturbing the purity of the red background. The inky texture of the black lines spread out and multiply across the canvas which appears from a distance as if they are casting shadows, although from a light source entirely unknown. What are these black masses They appear almost like rips, tears in the canvas, revealing a deep darkness rather than a brilliant red underneath. Francis work draws significantly on discoveries about the form and substance of reality that result from technologically enhanced vision. As an artist working in an increasingly digital age, he is deeply interested in the impact of scientific and technological advances on how we perceive the world around us, allowing us to see beyond our actual optometric prowess. There is sense of hyper-realism to Francis paintings with an element of illusionism, as we are seeing something which would be impossible for us to experience visually or even for a camera lens to be able to capture. One can understand the influence of German artist Gerhard Richter and his photographic blur; Francis adopted a dry-brushing technique, to produce his characteristically soft, smooth surfaces. Through the layering of mediums there is a mediation of artist and viewer with the act of looking through a series of lens, in Franciss case, a microscope. The titles he gives to these works reflect both biological and mechanical processes. From 1994 he frequently used the motif of the black dot; in Thallophyte (1999, Interim Art London) or an almost identical work executed in the same year entitled Matrix (2006, Kerlin Gallery) yet on this occasion painted in light blue. There is also an ominous undertone to these black orbs suggesting disease or contagion, a viral threat which raises the question of whether there is an aesthetic element to the microbiological foundation of human beings or other living organisms. Here we can see a dialogue between the gestural abstract and microscopic imagery, drawing the forms of his painted work from the realm of molecular structure out of which all life is assembled.Niamh Corcoran, November 2016