JIM DINE / SAM FRANCIS
Master Draughtsman / Master Colourist
There are as many images as eyes to see
– Sam Francis
JIM DINE is a consummate draughtsman whose images including hearts, landscape, figures, studies from nature and after antiquity, are among some of the most accomplished and beautiful of our time. Associated initially with Pop Art in1962, in his over 300 solo exhibitions since, drawing and the related print-making became and remained at the core of his practice. The medium played a fundamental role in the transformation, beginning with changes indicated in tool drawings and collages from the early seventies, to the then radical shift to life drawing in 1974. Nearly forty years later, drawing remains the centre of Dine’s range of expression. Colour is critical to the emotional and graphic impact of his work but the process is always informed by line. He draws from life or from his imagination and metaphor, but the images are always there and he stops short of abstraction. In this he may be seen art-historically to be carrying on in the tradition of PICASSO. Both artists communicate primarily through figurative imagery using colour as a tool.
SAM FRANCIS frequently uses the word ‘sensational’ when discussing people, places, art or poetry. As Ruth Fine has written in a forward to the catalogue raisonne of his prints: “In fact, the word ‘Sensational’, in its literal sense is a word that can quite accurately be used to describe his own art: sensations as a source of his allusions to light, to color, to sound.” He has been influenced by dreams and memories through the work of Jung and been deeply involved in Eastern religion and philosophy. Francis has been an abstract artist since the start of his career. However, nothing comes from nothing and his work is marked by a spirit of exploration of form, rhythm, line and above all – colour. In the same way that Dine may be compared to Picasso we may think of Francis as being closely associated with JOAN MIRO. Both Miro and Francis communicate above all through colour using line as a tool.
The contemplation of an artist’s work via the solo exhibition is the most usual way into the meaning of the art as well as the place of the artist in the art-historical continuum. However, the two-person exhibition in the same space may provide the viewer with an opportunity to see both artists with fresh eyes and discover aspects of the work that might otherwise remain unnoticed. The inevitable comparing and contrasting of form and style allow us to absorb these images in a different way. The incredible drawing of Jim Dine juxtaposed with the sensational colour of Sam Francis.
MASTER VISIONS is a group show of related contemporaries of DINE/FRANCIS. The masterworks have been carefully selected to both work off each other and to further inform the Dine/Francis exhibition. Many of the artists such as Warhol, Lichtenstein, Johns and Hockney need no introduction here as they are towering figures of 20th century art and have beginnings related to Dine. Diebenkorn, Stella and Frankenthaler, no less revered in many circles are closer to Francis in sensibility. Chuck Close and Donald Sultan are of a younger generation carrying on traditions which relate to both artists.
Finally, I would like to thank Leslie Sacks and Sandy Shin of Leslie Sacks Fine Art without whom this show would not have been possible.
Bill Gregory Director Annandale Galleries Sydney