PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston July:August 2022

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Page 41 of 67

W hen an artist stands upon the shoulders of history, expectations run high and responsibility ratchets up, especially when exhibiting in a community with a rich, significant past reflective of the Black experience in America. Cue Houston talent Mark Francis, a current MFA candidate at the University of Houston who has Fifth Ward Houston on his mind — specifically, its inhabitants, the subjects of his ongoing portrait series. Portrayed in finely detailed drawings with collage elements, the artist's unforgettable images are imbued with the character of each sitter. As such, the contemporary citizenry in these works dialogue with those titans of the Fifth who came before. "The DeLUXE Show: YOU ARE ART; A Love Letter to Fifth Ward. Featured works by Mark Francis"; community opening Monday, August 15, 7 pm; public opening Saturday, August 20, 6 pm; on view through September 11, at The DeLUXE Theater, Art for the People, 3303 Lyons Ave., Read our conversation with Mark Francis at RTIST MARK FRANCIS COMMUNES WITH THE H I S T O R I C D E L U X E THEATER, THE SITE OF A RADICAL CONCEPT 51 YEARS AGO — REPORTEDLY THE FIRST INTEGRATED ART EXHIBITION IN AMERICA, A SEMINAL SHOW FUNDED BY THE DE MENILS THAT GENERATED WAVES ACROSS THE NATION. IN A SERIES OF NEW DRAWINGS, FRANCIS' PORTRAITS OF THE CITIZENS OF HOUSTON'S FIFTH WARD NEIGHBORHOOD ESTABLISH A PROFOUND DIALOGUE ABOUT RACE IN AMERICA, THE BEAUTY OF COMMUNITY, AND THE PROMISE OF THIS STORIED BLACK NEIGHBORHOOD. A LETTER TO FIFTH WARD BY CATHERINE D. ANSPON. PHOTOGRAPHY BRIAN ELLISON. Mark Francis' work in process, Ayeshah and …, 2022 Mark Francis 40

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