Born in Newtownards, Northern Ireland, in 1962. Studied at St Martin’s School of Art (1980-1985), and the Chelsea School of Art (1985-86). His early paintings were ostensibly abstract, but suggested textures, apertures, organic materials and growths, which acknowledged insights provided by technologies used in exploring natural history such as engraving, photography, spectrum microscopy and the like. He has been an avid collector of historical scientific imagery, encompassing a range from astronomy, human, animal and insect anatomy, plant life to some of the sciences associated with these, such as medicine and neurology. These sources have given rise to imagery resembling neural connections, bacterial reproduction, fungal filaments, the texture of fibres, and so on. In some works the geometry is strictly delineated, in others he appears to welcome randomness or seemingly overt chaos.
Francis is strongly influenced by natural history, medicine, taxonomy and animal and plant life as conceptual sources for making work. His graphic oeuvre began with experiments in monotype in the early 90s, but since 2004 he has produced editions of etchings and lithographs, whose imagery is closely aligned with his explorations in paint. His work was included in Saatchi’s ‘Sensation’ exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1997. He has since held a retrospective at the Milton Keynes Gallery (2000), and solo exhibitions at the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin (2008), Abbot Hall Art Gallery (2010) and at Dirimart, Istanbul (2014).