The Molesworth Gallery

Francis Matthews


Capel ~ oil on linen ~ 80 x 120 cm




Parnell ~ oil on canvas ~ 80 x 120 cm




Coreana ~ oil on linen ~ 45 x 60 cm




Ranelagh ~ oil on canvas ~ 50 x 130 cm




Tobernea ~ oil on canvas ~ 60 x 60 cm




Bride ~ oil on canvas ~ 40 x 30 cm




Atlantic Road ~ oil on linen ~ 40 x 60 cm



New Paintings

October 5th - 31st, 2018


The Molesworth is delighted to present the second solo exhibition at the gallery of the work of Francis Matthews. In this exhibition, Matthews continues his exploration of the contrasting qualities of light - nighttime, daytime, dusk - in a variety of settings, ranging from intimate interiors and neglected laneways to the intersections on a main street. The scenes he creates are almost always absent of people, describing places of neglect or moments of silence in otherwise inhabited locations. Throughout, the work is informed by light, architecture and the phenomenology of place.

Francis Matthews graduated with a first-class honours degree in architecture from UCD before pursuing a career as an artist. He has won multiple awards at the RHA Annual Exhibition, including the Hennessy Craig Scholarship. He was one of the selected artists for the 2018 edition of the EVA biennial of international art in Limerick.

Writing about Matthews’s previous exhibition at the Molesworth, Hugh Campbell, Professor of Architecture at UCD, said of the artist’s work that he “has made the emptied nocturnal city his own. He has identified the particular quality that urban spaces hold once the bustle of nightlife finally subsides and before morning brings a quickening into life again. In this state of stilled suspension, Dublin’s streets and spaces seem both weary and expectant. Things have happened, there is more to come, but for now, we pause. Matthews makes this particular atmosphere vividly available. Unlike Edward Hopper’s nocturnal paintings, with which they bear some affinities, his views are uninhabited. Instead the viewer is cast as the inhabitant of the scene, a feeling achieved through the careful organisation of viewpoint and framing. The resulting, slightly forced perspective often presses foreground close, so that the lit surface of a front door or a car window looms towards us while the street itself tails off into blackness.

“The paintings are characterised by a re-balancing of elements and of hierarchies. The textures of a road surface are more prominent than the details of the buildings. Illuminated signs and road-markings jump forward even as the surfaces supporting them recede in the dark. These re-calibrations might be viewed as a conscious attempt by Matthews to make evident to us how the nocturnal view is apprehended, but they are just as much the natural consequence of his method. As he builds from a black painted canvas to light, fragmentary elements flare out of the darkness – sometimes as concentrated bursts, sometimes as more extended spills, washes and patterns. The scene is painted in a manner analogous to how we experience it, with darkness the unifying medium and brightness a constructed condition.”


Curriculum vitae

1998-2004 University College Dublin. Graduated with first-class honours in architecture
2014 RUA Perpetual Silver Medal Award
2013 RUA KPMG Young Artist Award
2011 Hennessy Craig Scholarship joint winner, RHA Annual Exhibition
2009 James adams salesroom award, RHA Annual Exhibition
2009 RHA studio residency
2008 Cill Rialaig Residency
2007 ESB Keating McLoughlin award, RHA Annual Exhibition
Hennessy Craig Scholarship Runner Up, RHA Annual Exhibition
2006 De Vere's first time exhibitors award, RHA Annual Exhibition
2006 Naughton award, RHA Annual Exhibition

Solo shows
2018 New Paintings, Molesworth Gallery, Dublin
2016 Six Streets, Molesworth Gallery, Dublin
2009 Ten, Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin
2008 46 South Richmond St, Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, Dublin
2007 Halation, Cherrylane Fine Arts, Wicklow

Selected group shows
2018 EVA Biennial of International Art, Limerick 2006 - 2018 RHA Annual Exhibition, Dublin
2015 Architects do, Darkspace Gallery Exhibition, Architects do.., Dublin
2010, 2012, 2014 RA Summer Exhibition, London
2007, 2009, 2013, 2014 RUA Annual Exhibition, Belfast
2014 Describing Architecture, Memory and Place, City Assembly House, Dublin
2012 Describing Architecture, Scale+Medium, No. 13 North Great George's St, Dublin
2011 Arte Laguna, Venice, Italy
2010 EVA, Limerick. Lavit Gallery, Cork
2009 Boyle Arts festival, Roscommon
2006-2009 RHA Banquet Exhibition, Dublin

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