Francesca Mollett b. 1991


Francesca Mollett portrays a material body as a threshold – not singular but connected – where structures liquefy, congeal and are ultimately fluid. Constructing spatial openings and dissolving boundaries between forms becomes a way to articulate emotional events in her paintings. She believes that painting as a medium can convey oceanic feeling, an idea from psychoanalysis describing how sensations relate to a mystic experience. Influenced by material feminists, particularly hydrofeminists, she imagines the human intermingling with more-than human species, translating entanglement into the arena of painting through qualities of corporeal marks, geological textures and meteorological transparencies.


Streams of consciousness and forms of writing such as auto-fiction mediate encounters that inform her abstract interior landscapes. Each individual work has an evolving identity that is both intuitive and specific; personal experience is collaged by layering imagery and extracting marks from found photographs, drawings from life, and eras of painting. Her approach is informed by Modernist and Sienese paintings with their stylistic inventions that create a particular spatial orientation to a subject. I am interested in incorporating ideas about enchantment in painting, and how enchantment – a process of falling under a spell of magical influence – was originally a way of asserting agency within a system where there was a lack of control. Her paintings aim to meld the otherworldly with contemporary lived experience. 


Recently, she has been responding to subterranean environments such as sacred wells and grottoes, spaces that both glow from within and are simultaneously lit by entering light. Her paintings borrow from this phenomenon, suggesting that the act of light, inwards and outwards, is a metaphor for being both looked at and the one looking. The intention of a painting develops in the process by investigating the materiality of paint as a tactile visceral substance. She experiments with ways for marks to have agency, create their own edges, and resist one another using oil and acrylic’s friction to create tense luminous surfaces. Her process uses surface as a language to express an oscillation between oneself and the unknown. To her, an experience of surface can be an experience of recognition, a drive to access inner reality, a place from which to share connective joy.


The artist lives and works in London, UK.