Mark Francis
Evidence of Absence
03 April 2014–03 May 2014 | Dirimart Nişantaşı

Mark Francis

Writing about the art and ideas of Romantic painter Carl Carus, Elizabeth Gilmore Holt says that for him, “a mystical feeling of the universality of nature is insufficient. Nature is not a hieroglyph, behind which hides a secret. Nature itself is the secret”1 Carus was “a naturalist and doctor” who “studied painting and drawing to acquire the skill required for his botanical studies.” Holt explains that, for him, “the landscape painter is required to possess, as the scientist, a knowledge of the inner structure of rocks and mountains, the growth of plants, and atmospheric phenomena.” “Firm ground”, Carus writes, “with all its varied forms, like cliffs, mountain, valley, and plain, quiet or moving water, air and clouds with their diversified appearance, these are in general the pattern through which the life of the earth manifests itself.” (Italics mine.) “The landscape painting reveals what is invisible but real – and not “mystical”. With Francis – an artist living 200 years later – the “pattern” is in what lies under the ground, under the skin, through the lenses of microscopes or telescopes. Or on the screens of instruments that reveal the energies of nature, the patterns of sound, the invisible areas of the electro-magnetic spectrum. The effect on his painting can be direct. For example he explains that “the dots in the new paintings are based on looking at spectrographs and the vertical bars hint at that.” Had Francis lived in the 19th century would he have been a landscape painter? “Yes, probably.” Carus, living in the early 1800s, knew there were secrets yet to be discovered in rocks, in geology. He also believed in God, so in a unity underlying all things.“Beauty is the threefold sound of God, Nature and Man,” he writes. ‘Beauty can be nothing but the uniform penetration of reason and nature, since the Supreme and the one only reveal themselves in the forms of nature and reason.”

2013, acrylic and oil on canvas, 183 x 160 cm
2014, acrylic and oil on canvas, 135 x 135 cm
2013, acrylic and oil on canvas, 120 x 153 cm