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Augustus Francis

"Abstraction fulfills an internal need, a desire for colour, the ground provides a full void upon which to place liquid form suspended in space. Sitting somewhere ambivalently between colourfield painting and gestural abstraction."

Augustus Francis


We often think of the sublime in relation to romantic landscape, the sense of what is greater than and overwhelming to man, yet the sublime you seem to be echoing is much more like what we can find in Ad Reinhardt's black paintings or Rothko's colour fields. It is a felt sublime rather than a representational one. What is the sublime's role in your work?
Chris Green

It does have the most in kin with Ad Reinhardt's approach to the sublime. I started the Autumno series upon seeing an Ad Reinhardt just five days after one of my father's black paintings, neither of which were really black. It doubly impacted my interest in pushing into the unknown. The sublime in nature is linked to the perception of man, which is hinted at by nature, commonly in its most chaotic form and so the sublime exists within us, through our empathy with a natural force like a crashing wave. Because the sensation is inner, the sublime can be reached by the vastness of the mind influenced by imperceptions of colour or through empathy of natural movement. For me, the sublime is the sensation of the unknown.
Augustus Francis

Note: The above is an excerpt from a spoken interview conducted in preparation for the catalog Augstus Francis: Natural Abstraction accompanying the artist’s solo exhibition at The Fondation Fernet-Branca, Alsace, France, 2013.