R5 – the work of Archie Franks


Archie Franks

The works shown on Archie Franks own web site (http://archiefranks.com/) are a mixture of oils and watercolours, still life and landscape, which have in common a celebration of colour, close observation and a loose execution, a combination which I think is very appealing. Looking at his work will help me to home in on subjects which fit in the context of my theme, and avoid tight detail and picturesque approaches to my work.

Monster Munch with Moon for example (at http://archiefranks.com/portfolio/monster-munch-with-moon-2016/) is a thought-provoking painting for my own project.  The luscious painting of a garish snack packet is a very well observed still life; the artist has almost painted it as a painters parody of itself, in thick buttery brushfuls of glistening colour, highlighting the consumer’s self-gratification in eating the snack.    Contrast that with the other half of the painting, the moon in the night sky background.  There is a tension in the painting between the natural and the artificial that’s very much there in my environment too, where a traditional rural culture based on self-sufficiency is very rapidly being replaced with the modern culture of consumerism.  Franks’ own thoughts on this painting are discussed in an interview at http://www.jerwoodvisualarts.org/writing-and-media/francesca-blomfield-archie-franks-conversation/

Franks was Artist in Residence at Marlborough College in 2015-6.  The college writes that his work mixes ‘popular contemporary culture and the more mundane aspects of the artist’s own everyday existence” (http://www.marlboroughcollege.org/art/artist-in-residence/?no_cache=1&cid=1043&did=7983&sechash=0430c584)

I like the small (7×10″) watercolours on this website, on Franks own web site and at http://www.welcomescreen.biz/exhibitions/archiefranks.html.  Their small size makes them feel intimate.  They are loosely made using bold tones and his mark-making is done with panache.  The colours are very positive, but subtle, not straight from the tube.  My part 5 ‘paper museum’ will probably include watercolour works on paper, so keeping Franks’ watercolours in mind I will aim for a similar loose depiction of subjects, with confident colours and tones, and strong mark-making.










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