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Nike and Flying Fish

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Image of Nike and Flying Fish

Madison Ke Francis (aka Ke Francis)
American, born 1945

Nike and Flying Fish


Object Type: Painting
72 1/4 in. x 78 1/8 in. (183.52 cm x 198.44 cm)
Medium and Support: Acrylic on canvas
Accession Number: 2002.0011

Credit Line: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase

Currently On View
Copyright: © Ke Francis

Raised in the South, Ke Francis is both in and of the region, and he uses his many expressive formats to address themes that are at once local and universal. Originally from Mississippi, he migrated to Florida, where he teaches in the art department at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He also manages the publication of books and prints through the university’s Flying Horse Press and his own Hoopsnake Press.

In "Nike and Flying Fish", the forms seem to have alighted on the canvas, creating bizarre juxtapositions. Against a painterly, colorful background with waves at the bottom suggesting water, Francis has layered a rabbit trap, a funnel, and a flying fish that comes face to face with a stylized drawing of the Winged Victory of Samothrace (or Nike), a well-known classical sculpture (Musée du Louvre, Paris). Francis endowed these images with new connotations—for example, Nike has been disassociated from the sculpture, divested of its mythological origins by contemporary culture. The funnel image in Francis’s art is a metaphor for the idea of focused energy brought to bear with positive, creative effect.

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