By 1980, Francis had become increasingly fascinated by the writings of the philosopher Carl Jung, and was attempting to transmit his own reading of Jung’s theories into his paintings. Jung’s Psychology and Alchemy, published in 1944 was a particular source of inspiration to Francis: the transformation of one substance into another echoes the artist’s beliefs. Jung’s theory that the process of alchemical transformation mirrored the journey of the soul was also shared by Francis: “Alchemy has to do with the transformation of personality… It has to do with the psyche” (the artist, cited in Ibid., p. 201). Ultimately Untitled can be viewed as an intensely powerful work on multiple levels, superbly combining Francis’ major creative and intellectual theories to create a painting of astounding power and complexity.
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