On Saturday, October 28, Downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) will proudly premiere the long awaited solo exhibition of new works from U.K. artist Ian Francis in Gallery 1. Titled “Artificial Winter,” this will be Francis’ first solo show in the U.S. in three years and the first solo with the gallery.
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. An heir to The Pictures Generation, Francis makes socially conscious works that critique and celebrate a media-inundated age. He’s described his work as being “about pornography and news reports from warzones rather than sex and death.”
“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.”
The opening reception for “Artificial Winter” will be hosted Saturday, October 28 from 7-11pm in Gallery 1 at Corey Helford Gallery. The reception is open to the public and on view through November 25.
About Ian Francis:
Born in 1979 in Bristol, England, where he continues to live and work, Francis received a BA in art and illustration in 2001 from University of the West of England. His work combines abstraction, figuration, and elements of both painting and drawing to create distinctly contemporary works. He draws his inspiration from cinema and imagery examining the most contemporary issues facing the human condition. Amid high-color washes and jagged brushwork, Francis depicts semi-clad figures who loll and mix in casual groupings—some scenes are intimate, others hedonistic. Abstraction and figuration mutually support the artist’s suggestion of a worldview where violence and style intersect. These figures are recognizable, the young and beautiful denizens of a particular media fantasy fueled by sex, death, and celebrity.
About Corey Helford Gallery:
Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) was first established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband, television producer and creator, Bruce Helford (Anger Management, The Drew Carey Show, George Lopez, The Oblongs) and has since evolved into one of the premier galleries of New Contemporary art. Its goals as an institution are the support and growth of young and emerging, to well-known and internationally established artists, the production and promotion of their artwork, and the general production of their exhibits, events and projects.
The gallery represents a diverse collection of international artists, primarily influenced by today’s pop culture and collectively encompassing style genres such as New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti and Street Art, and Post-Graffiti.
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