Naomi Frears

Love Letters, the nostalgic work of Naomi Frears goes on display in London

Beaux Arts London presents an exhibition of new paintings by St Ives based contemporary artist, Naomi Frears. The exhibition will consist of over 25 new works using oil on canvas, acrylic on wood, dry point on linen and mono printing. 

In this new series of work Frears depicts a variety of enigmatic human forms, that simultaneously confront the viewer and appear lost in their own worlds. The vast space gives no indication of any concrete context, but possesses a certain depth that pulls the viewer in. Frears sometimes describes her works as love letters, though she is not always sure to whom they are addressed. 

Continuously re-worked, each painting can take Frears years to complete. She describes the process of painting as ‘choosing every day to be completely lost – often happy lost.’ Frequently changing the apparent subject of a painting, Frears uses an editing process similar to that of film, framing, moving, removing and introducing new elements with paint. As a result the painting often has shadows or ghosts of previous ideas, figures, and structures visible within the painting.  

Alice Spawls, Editor of the London Review of Books, writes of Frears’ work, ‘It explains something of the uncanny and complex force of the paintings to know that they have not been created to a singular end, but have many selves under the surface.’ 

Frears’ studio in St Ives is one of the famous Porthmeor Studios, previously occupied by Francis Bacon, who described it as ‘the best room in St Ives’. St Ives is associated with many of the great artists of the 20th Century including Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Wilhelmina BarnsGraham, and Roger Hilton.   

Frears’ exhibition follows the celebrated retrospective Four Giants of British Modernism at Beaux Arts London which featured the four pioneers of British Abstract art, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon and William Scott. Frears’ feels a profound connection with these late artists, and although working with disparate subject matter believes the sense of place provided by St Ives results in contextual parallelisms. 

As well as painting, Frears is a filmmaker. Her latest project entitled All Going Nowhere Together was commissioned for Groundwork and involved a choreographed performance of over 40 cars in a car park in Cornwall.

The exhibition runs from 24 October – 30 November 2019 at Beaux Arts London, following a successful show with the gallery in September 2016.