Francis Livingston is fascinated with dramatic architectural structures. Using oil on wood panels, he depicts antique roller coasters, rhythmic effects of water towers on old rooftops, unique configurations of yesteryear’s movie theaters and amusement parks, as well as the dramatic effects of scale as oversized construction looms over a subdued city.
The artist honed his skills in Northern California, where he absorbed the Bay Area look — bold and free impressionistic brushstrokes, emphasis on shape rather than on line and an abstract approach to realism. Yet the tone of Livingston’s art — its most essential characteristic — is in the vein of the Ash Can School of the early 20th century. Ash Can painters, such as John Sloan, created haunting vignettes of cityscapes in thickly applied brushstrokes, with a dark and muted palette to project the feeling that pervades how isolated an individual feels in a large metropolis.
Livingston, too, render portraits of urban realism — attractive and impressive worlds that express the city environment as it exists but is little noticed. Livingston searches for the beautiful in the mundane, crafting pictorial representations of the authenticity of urban living. As artists have done throughout the ages, Livingston often reorders the components of a particular city scene. His keen artistic eye brings together buildings, streets and assorted structures from several locales, giving the final painting an optimally engaging composition.