Saturday, November 7, 2009

Artist Francis Bacon

Study for Self-Portrait by Artist Francis Bacon

Crucify 3 by Artist Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon

Above is the work Francis Bacon, Irish born, English artist.  He is very famous for extreme paintings that depict violent, repressed and anxious feelings. The reason I like his work is that it's so personal, so intense and not mainstream. His art has impact born of a terrific talent, scarred past and deep emotion. No, it's not pretty but it is powerful. The paintings come from his soul. There is great painterly quality in Bacon's work, the scrubbing and changing and moving of the paint on the surface of the canvas pulls the viewer into the art.  This style works to bring more intensity to the emotional content of the work.

Growing up in Ireland, Francis Bacon experienced violence at an early age. He described an experience of hiding in a ditch and viewing a violent political murder as a small boy. He was forever marked by his insecure an violent childhood. A lot is made of the fact that Bacon was gay. At the time he was alive it was less accepted but also he had wild life, gambling, drinking in London's Soho which was somewhat a reflection on his life choice. He called this lifestyle, "rough trade".

He was born in 1909 and died in 1992. In his last years he settled down and lived a quiet life. I saw photos of his studio with trash piled everywhere. He liked the chaos and felt that was the best soil for his creative life.

An interesting quote by Margaret Thatcher concerning Francis Bacon: "that man who paints those dreadful pictures."  Dreadful? Maybe.  Life can be dreadful and for Bacon it was his place and his time to give meaning to the feeling of anxiety that a violent past produces.