Francis West (1936-2015) was born in a remote fishing community on the Moray Firth in Scotland, where he spent his formative years. After National Service, he moved to London to study at the Chelsea School of Art (1957-1959). He mounted his first solo show in 1973, at the Hamet Gallery on Cork Street, and in 1981 his work was included in the Arts Council’s Hayward Annual. West based himself in Paris during the 90s, whilst also making two working trips to America.
West frequently employs metaphors of voyaging to reflect on his practice as an artist. Basic to all of his work – whether in drawing, pastel or painting – are figurative forms that have been plunged into states of metamorphosis. His paintings are grounded in his experience of real locations and the vast spaces and energies of the North Sea shaped his earliest visual and mental landscape. By contrast, recent visits to the south of France have imbued the limpid washes and hedonistic themes of his Mediterranean series. Other works issue out of long-distance trips to the Mojave Desert plains or, like the Nocturnes, come from dreamscapes imagined in the location of his Paris studio. His works are filled with the flotsam and jetsam of symbolic forms, fragments from myth, poetry and historic paintings – always refusing to settle into familiar dramatic scenes.
West’s work is included in a number of public collections, including the British Museum, Pallant House Gallery and Arts Council Collection, as well as numerous private collections.
- 2016 Francis West: Orion Stumbles
- 2013 Come Carnival (Francis West and Markéta Luskačová), The Piper Gallery, London *
- 2012 Voyages, The Piper Gallery, London
- 2002 Works regularly exhibited at Original Gallery, Nice (to 2009)
- 2000 Retrospective, Orleans House Gallery, London
- 1992 Group exhibition, Flowers Gallery, London *
- 1990 Group exhibition, Austin Desmond Fine Art, London *
- 1987 Joint exhibition with Ken Kiff, Fischer Fine Art, London
- 1985 Solo exhibition of paintings and drawings, Edward Totah Gallery, London
- 1981 Included in various travelling shows sponsored by the Arts Council: In their Circumstances, The Animal in Art, Westfield College, Hayward Annual *
- 1975 Solo exhibition, Parkin Gallery, London
- 1973 Solo exhibition, Hamet Gallery, London