Collection: Francesca Simon

Francesca makes paintings. An instinct for geometry and pattern-making, combined with a fascination for three-dimensional effects worked onto the flat plane of the support, typify her practice. Her most recent works are painted on aluminium, which has led to a more general change of approach to surface. Metal supports have long been used by artists and the smooth flatness necessarily requires a particular method of working: there is a need to organise in advance and spontaneity cedes to calculation and precision. Part of this is that some of the aluminium surface is left unpainted. This is a critically important part of the painting. Unlike cotton duck or a linen canvas left unpainted, this surface reflects light. There is an interplay between the pale reflecting shapes, and those that are painted. The resulting work does not directly represent a subject. By agitating the surface, the painting tends to extend into the space between the viewer and the painting, which creates a mood or non-representational response to a precise external experience. Her way into abstraction was through the topography and field shapes of North Yorkshire and, although Francesca work is no longer a direct response to landscape, the sharp corners of geometric shapes still correspond to fields enclosed by dry stone walls seen from a distance and at an oblique angle. Previously her work was multi-layered, the original painting obscured by gesso then rubbed back to reveal its origins, a painted palimpsest. Now her work is situated entirely in the present, not referring back but engaging directly with the ‘current.’ March 2021

 

 

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