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Helen McCullagh

Mandy Francis

Mandy Francis’s paintings and birdie sculptures are a simultaneous  exploration of ideas around the ‘the underdog’  or overlooked and the process of making.  Mandy see’s crazy little wonderful birds or plants as an opportunity to explore and share notions of resilience, humour, and connection. This comes from her longstanding interest in social justice and equality.


At the outset of her creations, Mandy is visually inspired by strong shadows, unusual perspectives, or patterns, often created by one of her plant clippings or the patterns on a crazy little bird in her garden. Mandy will then embark on a journey of exploration with paint, pastels, wire, paper mache, found objects, composition, all of which give birth to new and wonderful characters and stories. The end result is in this way less contrived and evolves on its own out of the process. Mandy’s painting switches between fast and energetic to slow and very careful, siting surrounded with the sculptures/paintings and simultaneously working on a number of canvases, on the birds, on the little masonite platforms, keeping her hands busy all the time.  Mandy keeps working in this way until she feels the character of the subjects has fully come alive. Mandy then captures her art making process as an autobiographical still life.


After some life changing events, Mandy was inspired to change her 17 year long artistic career path as an installation artist, researcher,  into becoming a full time painter, which she has focussed on for the last two years. Mandys previous practice as an installation artist and researcher led her to art residencies in Japan and Australia, including remote communities in the central desert, Northern Territory and Artspace, Sydney. Mandy has presented her work and papers at conferences in Australia and most recently Paris, France. She has also completed in-depth theoretical research thesis titled 'Thoughts on Shadows' 2007, a thesis titled ' Material Poetry' 2016, and published a paper titled 'The Social Artist' 2017.  Mandy is represented by Studio Gallery Group, Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.


b. 1975




2016 PhD, Doctor of Philosophy, School of Creative Arts, University of Newcastle

2007 Master of Fine Art, University of Newcastle

2000 Bachelor of Fine Art, National Art School, Sydney



2015 Material Poetry, Watt Space, Newcastle

2011 Life forms, Sheffer Gallery, Darlington, Sydney

2010 City Life, Open Studio, Artspace ,Sydney

2008 My Little World, John Paynter Gallery, The Lock Up Cultural Centre, Newcastle

2006 Right of Passage, The Palm House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

2001 Shadows, Tin Sheds, University of Sydney, Sydney



2013-14 The Rolling Film Project, Supported by two Gosford City Council Cultural Grants. The Rolling film project combines bike riding, film and art.



2020 Finalist in the Harbour Sculpture Prize, Balmain Sydney, NSW

2019 Finalist in the Blacktown City Art Prize, Blacktown Arts Center, NSW

2019 Spring Group Show, Studio Gallery Melbourne, Melbourne.

2019 Survival, Claire Purser and Mandy Francis, Walcha Gallery Of Art, Walcha.

2017-18 Folklore, Central Coast Council, Wyong.

2016 Beyond Walls, Artist In Residence, Arts Warehouse, Regional Youth Support Services, Gosford.

2014 Artist in Residence, Stepping Stones, Wyong Shire Council and The Entrance Gallery

2014 Artist in Residence, Barkley Regional Art Centre, Tenant Creek Primary School and Mungkata Community, Northern Territory

2013 Reminisce, large steel sculpture for Sculpture by The Sea, Bondi

2013 Group exhibition Art of Sound, The National Film and Sound Archive in collaboration with Holmes a Court Gallery, Perth.

2011 Residency at Cockatoo Island For Underbelly Arts Project The C-art, Mobile Graffiti Centre (a collaborative work with Milos and Momcilo Obradovic)

2010 Residency and Group exhibition at Australia House, Urada Japan. August-September

2010 Three month residency at Artspace, Sydney. April to July

2009-10 Residency and Group exhibition, Faces of Gosford, Artist Residency Project, Gosford Regional Gallery

2008 Residency at The Lock up, Cultural Centre, Newcastle



2013 Reminisce, Sculpture By The Sea Bondi, 8m x 4.5mx 2.4m steel sculpture

2012 Assistant to British artist Tim Knowles for Wind Grid and Wind Walk at National Art School Gallery and Art and About, Sydney City Council

2008 Short listed for the Public Sculpture at the Martyr Hospital, Newcastle

2006 Sculptural installation Turpentine Flower, Sculpture By The Sea, Bondi

2005 Sculptural Installation Sea Urchin, Sculpture By the Sea, Bondi

2005 Untitled, Large paper sculpture that floated on the Hunter River for the Festival of Lights, Newcastle

2002 Invited artist for the Walcha Open Air Gallery , The Long Blow, Walcha, NSW

2001 Shadows, Sculpture By The Sea, Bondi



2010 Awarded the Dr Brian and Rohma Cummings art award for excellence as a Fine Art Student

2008 Awarded The University of Newcastle, Postgraduate Research Scholarship.

2006 Awarded the Clitheroe Foundation Mentorship Program Grant

2005 Won Australian Un-represented artist Sculpture By The Sea, Bondi, Sea Urchin



Mandy’s work is in the collections of Janet Holmes a Court, Ann Lewis AO, and numerous private collections

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