It is with great pleasure we are now able to present a new solo show from Ian Francis, being one of the pioneers shaping the urban movement coming out of the UK scene late 2000s.
Together with artists like Conor Harrington and Chloe Early, who were informed by the urban scene without being bound by it, they contributed to shaping a new urban expression where they were inspired by the urban street art scene but more involved in bridging the gap between Fine Arts painting and new urban movements.
About the upcoming solo show Ian Francis tells the following:
"I have been captivated by images for as long as I can remember. The internet, however, presents a dichotomy for me – the vast number of pictures I encounter daily is both awe-inspiring and overwhelming. Over the last 25 years, it has transformed from an occasional research tool into the core of my work, and an integral and inescapable aspect of our society.
For me, painting serves as a way to try and make sense of this deluge of information. I am intrigued by the recurrence and interconnection of images, the way that ideas can link together even when there is no direct connection between them, a strange ocean of the beautiful, horrific, serious and trivial creating its own tides. And now, alongside people we are increasingly seeing A.I.s absorbing this torrent of information and forming their own connections and their own hallucinations.
My artistic focus revolves around the artificial, constructed realities of screens– the realms of films, TV programs, computer games, and the internet, along with the looming threat of their unraveling. I’m interested in delving into how popular culture intertwines with an overarching sense of impending apocalypse and collapse. The fascination with large-scale disaster or the disintegration of everything stems from my fortunate existence in arguably one of the safest times and places in human history, a safety that feels increasingly fragile. Concepts like climate change, natural disasters, and the spectre of war or terrorism are undeniably real and gripping, yet their enormity makes them challenging to fully comprehend or respond to.
In the face of these serious issues, I am occasionally horrified by my own appreciation for trivial entertainment. Perhaps this paradox reflects a characteristic of our present reality – our immediate safety prompts contemplation of distant, uncontrollable threats, leading us to create elaborate escapist fantasies. Through my paintings, I aim to merge these seemingly disparate ideas and explore their relationship.
The colors in my paintings derive from those seen on screens rather than the ones outside my front door. To me, I am creating paintings of images of people, emphasizing distortions in lenses, editing, and the selective nature of images people choose to share. Detailing certain elements of large canvases allows me to focus and slow down, contrasting with looser painting that mimics the forms, textures, and patterns found in images of explosions, fires, collapsed buildings, or graphical distortions. Playing different painting styles against each other creates tension, with the more reckless strokes threatening to obliterate the fragile details."