Private View: 11th February, 6 pm.
11 February – 24 March 2012
Workshop is delighted to present the first major solo exhibition by the British artist Anna M. R. Freeman. For this show Freeman has produced a new body of paintings, inspired by the city of Venice and the gallery's exhibiting space. By investigating the cafés, hotels and places of work scattered around the city, the works explore the transitory nature of Venice itself.
Notions of lost and found are integral in Freeman's work. Things that look as though they have little value, spark ideas and images that have greater meaning in a new context. An earlier series of works responding to junk and antique shops considered the hidden potential of otherwise everyday things. Merged histories in the junk shop are established, as objects are placed out of their intended context forming a sense of displacement, emphasising the transitory nature of the space as these items wait to be housed elsewhere.
For this exhibition these ideas have progressed into looking at places of work where such objects are made; as well as at hotels and cafés, where furnishings and opulent details find a home. In hotels and cafés, each carved ornament and crystal chandelier is just where it should be and yet here, it is the inhabitant that is passing through. As Venice bustles with visitors enchanted by the charm of the city, when their visit is over, the city is discarded and abandoned. Very few people make Venice their home, a fact accentuated by the mass of visiting spaces, hotels, hostels and bookable apartments.
Freeman's works are executed under a self-given time pressure. Due to the thinness of the paint and its need not to dry, each painting is completed on the same day that it was begun. The materiality of the paint plays a crucial role as the artist uses washes, fluid brushstrokes and intuitive reactions to form a complete image. Intrigued by the blurring boundary between abstraction and figuration, each painting involves an impulsive decision-making process in deciphering at what point to stop, to hold back and to allow the image to maintain control.
These fluid marks and washes of colour reflect the fluidity of Venice and its watery surroundings. Throughout the paintings of hotel lobbies, cafés and frame shops, a fascination with mirrors and reflections is clear. Just as, throughout Venice, light bounces off te canals into the interiors of the city, so throughout these transitory visitor spaces, objects and light are reflected around the room. And yet, in the paintings, often the physical space is rendered in exactly the same fluid and painterly way as the reflections and so we are left unsure as to what is there and what is simply reflected, what is real and what is not.
Anna M. R. Freeman was born in London in 1982, where she still lives and works. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Painting in 2010, Freeman has exhibited internationally and was awarded the Florence Trust Studio Residency in London 2010/11. Selected previous exhibitions include Some Domestic Incidents, MAC, Birmingham; Expanded Painting, Prague Biennale 5, Prague (2011), The Blyth Gallery, London (2010), and the Bloomberg New Contemporaries, London and Manchester (2009). Her work is part of the Saatchi Collection, the Howard and Roberta Ahmanson Collection and other private collections worldwide.
Anna M. R. Freeman has recently been announced as the 2012 Artist-in-Restaurant at Pied à Terre in Soho, London. The residency will culminate in a solo exhibition that will open at the restaurant in September 2012.