22 Nov 2014 — 03 Jan 2015
Newlyn Art Gallery
Best known for her enigmatic and often subtly haunting paintings, artist Naomi Frears has explored the medium of moving image during the past eighteen months to create a new body of work.
The series of short films, each a minute or less, draws our attention to small details that are so often overlooked. By inviting us to slow down, to give ourselves to stillness and the quiet beauty within it, the work encourages our minds to wander and experience undirected thought.
As well as working with and learning from experts in film and sound, Frears has stepped further outside the solitary world of the studio by inviting four writers to collaborate. Each was asked to write a short text to be then spoken over the films. Kalina Christoff, a neuroscientist, writes about her research into undirected thought; Simon Garfield considers one minute as a unit of time (the length of the films); Jeremy Harding uses a rhythmic collaging of writing from different sources to respond to the sense of expectancy in the films, while Ella Frears explores the link between her voice and her mother’s images as a parallel for their relationship.
The voices of these writers form separate soundtracks, allowing the audience to choose which writer they listen to. By creating separate and distinctive experiences while watching the films, they reveal what can happen when you are immersed in images and your thoughts are undirected. To fully relax with the films, visitors will be invited to take coffee and cake from the cafe into the gallery and sit back in the armchairs and sofas.
The completed piece, an audio and video installation, is still clearly a Naomi Frears’ work, possessing the same intelligence, sophistication and sheer beauty that one experiences in all of her work. But within this new language, Frears has found ways to further articulate and expand upon themes that have always been within her practice.
In addition to the audio and video installation in the upper gallery, there will be recent paintings and works on paper in the lower gallery. Although made in the last eighteen months, the same period as the film work, they weren’t originally conceived to be exhibited alongside each other. However, subtle conversations between works can be seen between the two gallery spaces, creating a thoughtful and poignant solo exhibition by this St Ives-based artist.
An illustrated publication, including the four writers’ texts has been published to coincide with the exhibition and is available from the gallery shop.