An affinity for creation is one of the fundamental traits of an artist. The creative process has its ebbs and flows, but starts with that initial start, an artist’s Genesis so to speak, wherein the source of his inspiration dictates the final painting.
The art of Francis Nacion begins with his readings into folk spirituality and the myths and legends of the countryside. Looking at a Francis Nacion painting is like having a folk story come to life—full of fairies and spirits, animal transformations, heroes and ordinary rural folk caught up in world of magic and mystery. And Nacion knows what he paints: he uses his own personal experience as a foundation of a larger analysis of folk traditions. It is from this source of inspiration that Nacion builds stunning works that never fails to elicit a sense of awe and wonder.
Coming off from a successful collaboration with Carlo Ongchangco, Francis Nacion will soon have his 5th one-man show at Galerie Stephanie that will undoubtedly be one of the most important art events of the year. Titled Genesis and opening on October 24, the show will exhibit the latest works from a seminal artist at the cusp of being one of the most important artists today. It will run to November 8, 2013.
The paintings of Francis Nacion are renowned for being bright and lively, while still retaining elements that are both visually arresting and beautifully haunting. Nacion compositions are playful, drawing on the folk belief in the ability of spirits to take the forms of humans and animals. “Midnight Sonata” is a fantastic example of this. In this painting, the bluish tint of dusk marks the start of a festival of spirits where music and song waft up into the night sky. Here, animals take their true spirit forms, in a ceremony that is a joyful and jubilant affair. This piece is demonstrative of Nacion’s illustrative aesthetic style, with his use of colors giving life to the festivities. “The Explorer” is a more contemplative piece. Here, we see a spirit in the form of a horned, wolf-like beast clutching a telescope and seeking out new lands. Framed by the reddish hue of strange vegetation, the artist seeks to instil a sense of urgency around the work—as if the spirit is looking for a new home amidst the destruction of his original environment.
Francis Nacion is a member of the famed Saturday Group of artists. His oeuvre primarily deals with our relationship between the spirits and the spirit world. Many of his works have roots in the folk beliefs of provincial folk. His earlier works tended to be darker, but his newer works sees him transitioning to lighter tones and themes. Throughout his career, however, his approach remains the same: to use tales passed on by the elderly in the provinces and render them in playful visualizations. One of his many aesthetic techniques is to to use recurring patterns to balance the canvas, lending a children’s book look and feel to his paintings.
The reason why Francis Nacion is so fascinated with the spirit world is because he believes that his brother has a “third-eye” and the ability to communicate with spirits. Thus, Francis Nacion thinks that spirits are everywhere and inhabit many things in nature–often playing on the ability of spirits to take the forms of humans and animals. His 2013 solo exhibition promises to bring out another side of the artist while still retaining the edge that has made him the darling of collectors throughout the country.