WOW – Work Of the Week – Sam Francis “Untitled (Lembark 269)”

Lembark 269

Sam Francis
Untitled (Lembark 269)
48 x 34 in.
Edition of 250

Pencil signed and numbered

About This Work:

One of the twentieth century’s most profound Abstract Expressionists, American artist Sam Francis (1923-1994) is noted as one of the first post-World War II painters to develop an international reputation.  Regarded as one of the leading interpreters of color and light, his work holds references to New York abstract expressionism, color field painting, Chinese and Japanese art, French impressionism and his own Bay Area roots.

Francis was initially influenced by the work of Abstract Expressionists such as Mark Rothko, Arshile Gorky and Clyfford Still. He later became loosely associated with a second generation of Abstract Expressionists, including Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler, who were increasingly interested in the expressive use of color.

His paintings of the 1950’s evolved through a series of stages, beginning with monochromatic abstractions, followed by larger richly-colored murals and “open” paintings that feature large areas of whiteness.

He traveled and studied extensively, maintaining studios in Bern, Paris, Tokyo, Mexico City, New York and Northern and Southern California. Through his travels he was exposed to many styles, techniques and cultural influences, which informed the development of his own dialogue and style of painting. Francis possessed a lyrical and gestural hand, enabling him to capture and record the brilliance, energy and intensity of color at different moments of time and periods of his life. His paintings embody his love of literature, music and science, while reflecting his deep range of emotions and personal turmoil.

Francis returned to California in 1962 and was then influenced by the West Coast School’s preoccupation with mysticism and Eastern philosophy. Blue had become a more dominant feature of his work since 1959 inspired by personal suffering and the great joy of becoming a father for the first time in 1961. This led to combinations of hard color and more disciplined structures with centrally placed rectangles during the 1970’s. Eventually these more rigid structures gave way to looser configurations sometimes of snake-like forms with web-like patterns. Blue, sometimes brilliant, remained an important part of many later works.

Remarkably, Francis has been able to transfer this same combination of spontaneous gesture and signature abstract forms to graphic media, which appear to be as intuitive and direct for him as painting.

One of his most important contributions was the establishment of his own print shop. He was extremely active as a printmaker, creating numerous etchings, lithographs and monotypes, many of which were executed in his Santa Monica print shop, the Litho Shop.

WOW – Work Of the Week – Ahol Sniffs Glue “Untitled Layered #13”

Layered Untitled 13

Untitled Layered #13

Spray paint on two panels

48 x 36 in. each panel (48 x 73 1/2 in. overall)

Signed on verso

About This Work:

Ahol Sniffs Glue is a South Florida native street artist, well-known for his murals in the Wynwood neighborhood and on several buildings and walls in Miami.

The main theme of Ahol’s work is based on the eyes. Eyes are the windows to the soul. The artist says that “The eyes tell all, they tear up and droop when sad, and light up when excited and happy.  You can tell a lot about a person by looking into their eyes”.

Getting inspiration from the urban environment, Ahol depicts expansive fields of drowsy eyes, reflecting his unique vision of life, labor and torn love of the streets of Miami.
According to him, these eyes tell the story of Miami’s hardest-working people and their drowsiness symbolizes the struggle of everyday regular people. 
The struggle is represented mostly by the dull, job-related conflicts often encountered in the everyday workplace. “I am inspired by the average person who gets up every day and hustles. Whether it’s to feed a family or feed a passion. Many people are stuck in a job or work place, not by their own choice, but because they need that job in order to live, pay their bills and this will affect their personal lives“. This message transforms the artwork in an ode to the everyday life, with all its struggle but also happiness and simplicity.

This topic is in line with the true concept of street art, which often tackles political, economic, social and every day issues that people face. Furthermore, Ahol’s artwork deals with his daily life of not just the hardships, but of the city he loves and calls home: Miami, a rich and complex tapestry of contrasting cultures.

In Ahol’s work the use of pattern is, indeed, fundamental. The pattern is a combination of elements or shapes repeated in a recurring and regular arrangement. Since patterns can be considered a non-figurative representation, they can be used to convey spiritual principles or general concepts, in which they become potentially universal, as the meaning of the eyes.

Untitled Layered #13 is the very first diptych by Ahol Sniffs Glue and it takes his eyes to a whole other dimension. The work is more abstract expressionistic. This work’s theme is developed through complex patterns, which can be divided in different categories based on the position of the eyes. This diptych is what is called Layered, since the eyes are depicted through different juxtaposed layers one on top of the other. In Untitled Layered #13, we have two panels worked with acrylics. The different colors, size and thickness of the eyes seem to be scattered randomly on the canvases, but they hide a precise order and a well thought out, balanced composition. A composition much like the streets of Miami and the people of this city.

Ahol doesn’t like to give precise references to his artworks, leaving to the viewer a democratic freedom of interpretation. That is the reason why all his artworks are “Untitled”. 

Ahol’s work can be seen publicly throughout the streets of Miami. Countless murals of eyes adorn the buildings that inhabit the Magic City. His hypnotic expanses of sleepy eyes represent a landmark in the Miami street art scene and a symbol for all the people living in the city. His work is engaging, raw and represents a bridge between fine art and street art. But most of all, he represents Miami to the fullest.

Other works by this artist:

Layered Untitled 12

Untitled Layered #12, by Ahol Sniffs Glue

Overlay Untitled 18

Untitled Overlay #18, by Ahol Sniffs Glue

Layered Untitled 17

Untitled Layered 17, by Ahol Sniffs Glue