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New art commission by critically-acclaimed St Ives artist Naomi Frears

Published: 26 August 2021

St Ives artist Naomi Frears St Ives artist Naomi Frears

Exeter City Council’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM) will display new work by artist Naomi Frears, supported by Arts Council England and commissioned by RAMM to complement her solo exhibition Men Falling at Exeter Phoenix.

Frears’ commission, In Other Words (2021), is a new stop-motion work that explores the expressive and communicative qualities of sleeves and arms. The short film draws on the artist’s extensive research into RAMM’s historic costume and fine art collections in 2019, and was made at home and in her studio in St Ives during the pandemic.

Taking inspiration from the varied depictions of sleeves in paintings, prints and fashion illustrations in RAMM’s collections, Frears’ new work explores the infinite possibilities of non-verbal language through arm movement, with sleeves framing every gesture and communication.

To complement this film, Frears invited her daughter Ella, an award-winning poet, to write a poem in response to both her RAMM commission and to her Men Falling exhibition at Exeter Phoenix. The poem, Words Fail (2021), will be displayed alongside In Other Words next to the Courtyard Case at RAMM, while The Drop (2021) will appear at Exeter Phoenix.

Naomi Frears says: ‘I’m delighted to be exhibiting my work both at RAMM and Exeter Phoenix. I have been fascinated by sleeves and my research into RAMM’s collections reinforced this fascination. I hope people will feel engaged and included in the fictional conversations that appear in the film.’

Lara Goodband, Contemporary Art Curator at RAMM says: ‘Naomi’s new artwork is a mixture of playfulness, poignancy, and delicate sensitivity. The film responds to RAMM’s varied collections of sleeves not in a direct way but rather, after 18 months of Covid restrictions, a thoughtful and humorous way. It brings new life to RAMM’s Courtyard Case and will encourage visitors to look again at the historic objects displayed nearby. This is the result of a successful partnership and co-commissioning process with Gallery Curator Matt Burrows at Exeter Phoenix. ’

In Other Words will be displayed in RAMM’s Courtyard Case from 14 September to 7 November 2021. Frears’ solo exhibition Men Falling opens at Exeter Phoenix on 18 September 2021.

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