Ningbo has recently seen the return of a passionate artist in its midst. His latest dazzling paintings were telling new stories with symbolic transfiguration in Ningbo Museum of Art, in a solo exhibition named “Colors symphony and abstraction”. Invited by the president of the museum, Francis de Lenclos was greeted by old friends and admirers with open arms and warm hugs, after 20 years from his last visit to Ningbo. Francis’ paintings were appreciated by many, young and old, within the spacious great hall; so much so, that for the first time the museum has had to extend the exhibition to meet the burgeoning demand, before the paintings were transported to another museum on the long exhibition list. He was also invited to a sharing session during the exhibition, discussing the reasons why and how “Art makes life better”.
His creations often attract the eyes with their kaleidoscopic compositions at first. But, Francis encourages the viewers to spend some time to unravel their mysteries. These contemporary abstract works could be visually provoking, yet regularly seen in China’s art circuit, and it is how he wishes to nudge people’s curiosity, opening their heart and emotion to the happiness he is trying to spread. He likened his painting to a cake: “As you eat a cake, you can see the many colors it has, but you don’t know the many ingredients in the cake, and when you know what are the things that go in the cake, I think it makes eating it so much better.” The key to his paintings might not be easy to find, but it is worth the time having an inner discourse trying to understand. Indeed, for those who have found the answers beyond the intrigue, the wonder never ceases, if not grows from the recognition of his effortless creativity and flowing talent.
When inquired about his sources of inspiration, he answered thoughtfully: “I am inspired by the spirit, by the soul.” Feelings and emotions are the driving force behind his painting, like the happiness from listening to music, or the fleetingness of the wind. And, he does not let little details of fixed target confine him; instead, he let his instinct lead him, let his hands to flow naturally, sometimes forgoing the brush altogether, resulting in an irrefutable piece of chemistry, “like the river flowing from the mountain to the sea.…”
Another telling characteristic of Francis’ paintings is how they are never too big, never too cumbersome, to be hung onto someone’s wall at home. “They are designed for people; to fit in their bedroom, living room, dining room or the bathroom, to give happiness in their lives. For me, the best place is the bathroom. Believe me; everybody has to go to the bathroom, and spend at least a few minutes in there, so I think it’s a good place to hang my painting, to enjoy after you close the door,” he added with a chuckle. The irony was not lost on us, and we tittered away our surprise, not feeling too sure how many artists want their masterpieces to be in someone’s bathroom.