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Photo: Keizo Kioku
Shingo Francis is perhaps best known for his abstract expressions that consist of multiple layers of blue, and for his deep monochrome color works. Over the past few years, however, his practice has focused on the Interference series of paintings created with special materials that cause optical interference, resulting in light passing through multiple layers of paint to produce a variety of colors when viewed at different angles.
The Interference paintings shown in his 2019 solo exhibition predominantly took the form of a rectangular canvas with a somewhat smaller rectangle painted inside it. In his latest works, the form has progressed to square canvases incorporating circles. Light falling on the canvas creates a rich palette of colors that emerge and vary according to the viewing angle and the time of day. In today’s world, artworks are increasingly viewed on a monitor, intermediated by social media and other networks, but Francis provides a visual experience that cannot be captured as a static image.
In classical times, the circle expressed the world as a whole, including the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and aether. In Zen Buddhism, the circle represents enlightenment or truth, and is said to reflect the mind of someone who has seen the truth. The circle can be found in the shinkyo, or sacred mirrors of Shinto, and in Zen circle calligraphy. It is simple and clear, but it may be the most difficult shape to grasp. The circle also refers to Nature’s repetition and change where we live out our lives in this grand scheme of cycles. These new experiments by Francis bring the viewer face-to-face with his or her own reflection, inviting and facilitating introspection.
Born 1969 in Santa Monica, California. Lives and works in Los Angeles, USA and Kamakura, Japan. Francis explores the vast space and spirituality of painting through abstract expressions that consist of multiple layers of blue and deep monochrome color works. His major exhibitions include DIC Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art,(Chiba, 2012), Lobby Gallery, Durst Organization, (New York, 2013), Ichihara Lakeside Museum, (Chiba, 2017), Sezon Museum of Modern Art, (Nagano, 2018), Martin Museum of Art, (Waco, 2019). His works are in collections including JPMorgan Chase Art Collection, Banco de Espana, Frederick R. Weiseman Art Foundation, Mori Arts Center, and Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Oketa Collection, Tokyo American Club.