It’s been ten years since the Bristol-based multimedia artist’s first solo show, which was also in Los Angeles, now Francis returns with his information-rich canvases, which often depict violent, urban scenes and contain both figurative and abstract elements—rendered in acrylic and oil, charcoal, and ink.
“I’ve always loved technology and been fascinated by our relationship with it, but I’ve found it hard to predict the extent to which it would come to dominate our relationships with each other, our own self-image and our perception of reality in the last ten years.
Looking back on my work, the focus has slowly shifted from media images of celebrities, to the curated images people create and maintain of themselves. I’m interested in the fragility of the construction of these images, the way they relate to each other, and their broader relationship with a pervasive feeling of a world falling apart. I’m amazed by the way people have transitioned from watching a world through screens, to being creators and participants of it, and the way they have become inextricably enmeshed within its structures and artifices.
I love trying to explore and express these ideas as paintings. There’s something about the layered nature of paint that fascinates me. I really like the interplay between applying paint in a very transparent, delicate way juxtaposed with using it in a much more raw, abstract, chaotic way that threatens to break apart and obliterate the detail, structures and patterns. My work has always been heavily based on photography and film because I’m interested in the way people perceive themselves and each other through lenses and screens rather than physical reality. For me, painting is a way to try and make sense of the stream of images we’re bombarded with daily, to explore how these ideas fit together and relate to each other in an unreal space.” – Ian Francis