Plus One Gallery is delighted to present a solo show of remarkable paintings by leading photorealist artist Mike Francis. Many of the works, both in oil and acrylic, concentrate on Francis's well known large scale works of landscape and beach scenes. Often including a prominent female figure accompanied by a dog, each work remains unique and equally vibrant in colour and narrative.
Originally trained as an illustrator, it was in 1964 that his first solo show opened in the west end of London. However, it was not until 1972 when Francis won the National Gallery 'poster competition' when the gallery itself was celebrating its 150th anniversary that with the prize money he won, he was able to devote himself to being a full time artist, leaving behind over 20 years in a commercial studios. Francis has often cited that it was his years as a draftsman that taught him composition, colour and most importantly, how to tell a visual story. Citing his greatest influences to be Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth and the emerging American realists of the time, the development of Francis's work over the past 20 years has resulted in him being among the first movement of British artists to develop the 'realist' technique.
With his West Country upbringing and love of the coast and Cornish sea, he took advantage of this natural habitat to develop his extraordinary skill and technique, which has contributed to creating a certain nostalgia around his images. Working from personal photographs, detailed drawings and sketches, together with a conglomeration of magazine cuttings collected over many years, content is equally key to Francis's work as is the technique. He likes to keep the image as simple as possible, accenting on something quite mundane, but humorous as well which leaves the viewer pondering the 'full picture'. Works such as 'Spot the Dog' and 'Jasper, Stay Boy', Francis explains, 'there is no indication why Jasper should 'stay'; maybe another dog or possibly a person approaching. Whatever is may be, Jasper is intent on protecting his mistress' Francis's work further provokes the notion that dog is man's best friend as most of his 'dog' works feature the female as the human element.
Mike Francis's work has been exhibited widely and he has been commissioned by the National Film Theater and Atlanta Olympics among others. He lives and works in London.