Francesca Mollett: Noon at Pond Society
September 16, 2023–October 31, 2023


Pond Society, Shanghai
September 16 – October 31, 2023

Pond Society is pleased to present Noon, a solo exhibition of paintings by London-based artist Francesca Mollett.

Following her recent exhibition Low Sun at Micki Meng in San Francisco, Noon serves as a sequel; allowing the artist to revisit and develop her ideas into an extended body of work. Continuing her exploration of the interplay between densities of paint, and the uncertain settling of mark into form, these paintings emerge from a geologically inflected language of deterioration and accumulation.

Traversing the freedom of abstraction and the responsive intensity of description, the paintings in Noon coalesce into distinctive entities. Within them, matter disperses and mingles, endlessly divisible and indivisible.

Although an underlying structure is present, when Francesca Mollett begins her paintings, their compositions and formations are changeable and exploratory. The painting process begins with a watery but intense colour made of pigment mixed with binder, allowing an openness to the framework laid at the start. From here, opaque areas are built up and pushed back, creating softened, tonal transitions. Colour is rubbed with cloth, smeared across the surface, wiped into and away. It is sometimes applied with palette knife, which - depending on the wetness or dryness of what is underneath - either emphasizes or lifts texture. Surface tensions are created between what is above and beneath as they merge and cross over one another.

Playing with fluidity and mass, multitudes of small marks produce sensations of explosion and implosion. Potentially tiny and enormous spaces that bulge outwards or sink away emerge from zones built up of various types of repetitive touch. Provisional, corrective, destructive or responsive, each mark deals with others made before it. Although a possible safety might be felt in the accumulation of the small, it is also risky in its contingency: it is hard to rehearse, and hard to return.

When the sun seems at its highest but is at its closest, the white light of noon, made from the full spectrum of colours, marks a peak and a point in time that arrives and passes, day after day. Encircling the exhibition with its looping symmetry and softness, the word ‘noon’ identifies in Mollett's paintings both an encapsulated specificity and an infinitude. Where space crumples and surface frays. Where time collapses and experience unfolds with shifts in perspective and perceptive realisations and confoundments. All this comes together in the paintings, creating a coexisting sense of sequence and all- at-onceness, so that they seem to be moving but still.

  • Bryony Bodimeade