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Busy with my 'treasures' in Harley's kitchen in Sonoma County.

I'm working on the piece

Sonoma VIII

in this picture...


For many years I've been collecting objects found in the gutter, on vacant lots and in salvage yards. These bits of debris, with their distressed or oxidized surfaces and subtle colors, are beautiful to me and serve as my palette for assemblage works. While I do occasionally alter my materials, the primary control I exert is in choosing and placing them. Achieving a visually balanced whole from disparate parts is an intuitive and experimental process. The playful works of Joseph Cornell and the contemplative explorations of Louise Nevelson have inspired and informed my work. The powerful understanding of volume, gravity and balance expressed by the forms of Alexander Calder and Henry Moore strongly influence my spatial choices. While older series were more representational explorations of the concepts of 'communication' or 'culture', etc., current works are more purely abstract meditations assembled from our cast-off bits. These pieces are a celebration of the beauty that lies all around us and with them I strive to make desirable again the things that were discarded.



Tristan Francis grew up in Oberlin, Ohio, a small college town. This setting, which blended small town life with all that a renowned liberal arts college has to offer, was ideal. The son of an artist, his upbringing was steeped in culture, exposing him to myriad forms of art, music and theater. He received a bachelor's degree in English from Oberlin College and worked rebuilding grand pianos for the Oberlin Conservatory of Music upon graduating. Tristan moved to Portland, Oregon in 1989, worked at various jobs over the years, and started a family. Now divorced, he is helping to raise two children. Over the last two decades, and with no formal training, he has experimented with various forms of creative expression and, in the last six or seven years, has settled upon mixed media/found object assemblage as his favored medium. He is now happily self-employed as a handyman and personal assistant, an avocation which affords him the flexibility, materials and skills to pursue his artistic interests with intention and in greater depth. He devotes ever more energy to expanding his involvement and interaction with Portland's thriving artists' community and beyond and to exploring his relationship (and responsibility) to the planet that sustains him...

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