Francis, Iris Duncan
- Melissa Harpley
(b Fremantle, 1913; d Perth, June 2, 2004).
Australian painter and designer. Raised in a family with artistic leanings, Francis studied under J. W. R. Lindon (1869–1947) and A. B. Webb at Perth Technical College. Upon graduation she was employed as a commercial artist, later teaching at both Perth and Fremantle Technical Colleges. During World War II Francis translated aerial photographs into topographical maps for the army and also played the cello in orchestras to entertain the troops.
This diverse activity is reflected in her art (e.g. Self-portrait, c. 1940; Perth, A.G. W. Australia). She was a fearless experimenter with technique and medium, subject-matter and modes of representation. Examples include fan, mural and bookplate designs, oil and watercolours, ceramics, enamelwork and works carved into, and painted on, linoleum. Her mostly representational watercolours reflect her early 20th-century training, but her clear graphic style was strengthened by her work as a commercial artist, as well as her ongoing experiments with the language of modernism. In all media she freely used subjects to hand as raw material for her artistic exploration of the world and her life and she showed a particular interest in the symbolic life of objects. Francis was also a member of the Perth Society of Artists and the Studio Club, a group for women painters....