Naomi Frears still from Men Falling 2021

Naomi Frears: Men Falling

A solo exhi­bi­tion by Corn­wall-based artist Nao­mi Frears, which includes recent works span­ning film, paint­ing and print.

18/09/21 – 07/11/21
Opening Times
Sunday, 12:00 – 17:00
Mon–Sat, 10:00 – 17:30
Frears’ practice explores forms of everyday choreography, incorporating androgynous figures, ambiguous gestures, fictitious landscapes and disembodied dialogues. Her works juxtapose personal encounters and observations with visual material drawn from cinema, fashion, imagined gardens and interiors. Throughout, she pushes and pulls at you, suggesting and then withdrawing from an intimacy that, at times, verges on the confessional and, at others, meets you with a stylish, even frosty, indifference.

The exhibition takes its title from her newly commissioned film, Men Falling, which is shown here for the first time. In its first part, shot from Frears’ Cornish studio window overlooking Porthmeor beach in St Ives, Frears imagines a series of classifications to describe how, in the final moments as surfers come to the end of their ride on a wave, each seems to bring their own unique style to their dismount - from the purposeful dive to a gentle collapse into the foam. A second part counterpoints this with text that recounts Frears’ memories of conversations with her father in the final days leading up to his death. As with much of her work, it manages to pair a seemingly passive, detached and aestheticised gaze with an intimacy and yearning that is undercut with gentle, dry humour.

The playful pairing of text and image is a motif that runs through several works in the exhibition, where small vignettes or fragments of narrative are presented in play with evocative imagery or else floating, isolated in space. In other works, figures and forms stand alone or in a fragmented, partial scene, often dissolving into an abstracted ground. Imagery may hover just out of reach, reminiscent of some half-remembered movie scene or capturing a fleeting moment or gesture that is dislocated from any specific time or place.

Coinciding with the exhibition, a further new work by Frears, commissioned by the neighbouring RAMM (Royal Albert Memorial Museum) is on display in their two-storey Courtyard Case. Each venue also features one of a pair of newly commissioned poems, written by the artist’s daughter and celebrated poet Ella Frears, that make connections between the artworks featured in both venues.