Galerie Donald Browne in the Belgo Building is showing John Francis’ broken porcelain – serene white tiles with the tension of tiny cracks where the artist has carefully, and not so carefully, broken the pieces. The ceramic, a common material, has been re-worked in the tradition of mosaics. Although we recognize the wall covering of public washrooms, the white tiles now have a dual resonance: they are alluringly lovely, and yet…. A feeling of risk greets the viewer on entering the gallery: a broken sink and toilet lie on the floor. There is a sense of abandonment; possibly of vandalism. But there is also a sense of beauty in these ‘installations’ ($4,500 each). The ‘found objects’ are, in a way, destroyed, then reconstructed. Their ‘new’ geometry offers a minimalist modernism.
The calmness of the cracks – yes, an oxymoron – comes out in the wall-hung pieces ($1,500 – $1,800, and almost sold out). There, whiter-than-white porcelain tiles with their myriad of hair-line cracks are hung in groups of 4 and 6. Hung horizontally in a row, they are beautiful. One should buy more than one!