Celebrating a Friendship. Walasse Ting & Sam Francis

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by Wall Street International.  Read the original article - https://wsimag.com/art/64829-celebrating-a-friendship-walasse-ting-and-sam-francis

2021 marks the 40th anniversary of Alisan Fine Arts. To celebrate this major milestone, the
gallery is excited to present a joint exhibition of two globally renowned 20th century artists,
American abstract painter Sam Francis and Chinese diaspora Walasse Ting, the latter whom
Alisan Fine Arts has been working with since the gallery’s early days. The exhibition will reveal
the subtle yet intriguing relationship between Ting and Francis through their works.

Consisting in total of 18 works on paper created between the 1960s to the 1990s by both artists
the exhibition highlights the influence of Abstract art upon their residence in New York, where
Ting and Francis met during the 1950s and grew to become lifelong friends. Whilst both their
works display individual styles, there are subtle similarities that hint at how they have influenced
each other. To round off the show, a selection of archival material showcasing the relationship
between Ting and Francis will be on display. This exhibition marks the first time Alisan Fine Arts
will be exhibiting Francis’ paintings and will be the first in a series of important shows the gallery
has planned for its 40th celebration.

Walasse Ting and Sam Francis were both born in the 1920s to artistic families. In 1948, Ting left Shanghai at the age
of 19 to move to Paris. There, he befriended members of the avant-garde art group ‘CoBrA’, including Karel Appel,
Asgar Joan, and Pierre Alechinski. In 1957, he moved to New York where he met Sam Francis. In 1964, Ting created
One Cent Life, a collaboration between 28 renowned European and American Pop Artists and Abstract Expressionist
painters such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana and Robert Rauschenburg. The 170 page publication
contains Ting’s poems illustrated by 62 original lithographs including these well-known artists. Francis, who by that
time had already gained international fame not only assisted in editing the project and introducing Ting to the
publisher EW Kornfield, but also supported the project financially. In 1972, together with Joan Mitchell, Ting and
Francis had a group exhibition Fresh Air School at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Several years later, in 1977, Ting
won the American Guggenheim Foundation Painting Award. During this period, while his works consisted of mostly
splattering and running brushstrokes in florescent acrylic paint, he had already begun to explore the use of colour
with his figures. These experiments ultimately lead to the sultry women paintings we are familiar with today and
are the focus of this exhibition.

Francis started painting in 1945 at the age of 21 during his recuperation from an injury he sustained while serving in
the U.S. Air Force during World War II. After completing his MA from the University of California, Berkley, he moved
to Paris in 1950 where he further explored the “Drip Painting” technique which he is recognized for today. While in
Paris he became interested in Oriental ink painting and Zen Buddhism. Although Ting and Francis did not meet while
they were both in Paris during these years, it is no doubt that Francis’ interest in Eastern philosophy and Ting’s
interest in Western art drew them together when they later met in New York. Francis was deeply influenced by
Mark Rothko’s abstract art and Jackson Pollock’s action paintings but like Ting was not part of any specific art group.
Together Francis and Ting shared the same enthusiasm for creation, the joy of beautiful women and the love of
meeting new people. The two shared a strong connection throughout their lives as evident in their bi-coastal visits
and correspondence, the last of which Francis received from Ting, a month before he passed away in 1994.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by Wall Street International.  Read the original article - https://wsimag.com/art/64829-celebrating-a-friendship-walasse-ting-and-sam-francis