New art commission by critically acclaimed St Ives artist Naomi Frears


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

Frears Committee, 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 of RAMM’s historical costume and artwork collections in 2019, and was made at home and in his studio in St Ives during the pandemic.

Drawing inspiration from the varied depictions of sleeves in paintings, prints and fashion illustrations from RAMM’s collections, Frears’ new work explores the endless possibilities of non-verbal language through the movement of the arms, the sleeves framing each gesture and communication.

To complement this film, Frears invited his daughter Ella, an award-winning poet, to write a poem in response to both her RAMM commission and her falling men exhibit at Exeter Phoenix. The poem, words fail (2021), will be shown alongside In other words next to the Courtyard case at RAMM, while Drop (2021) will appear at Exeter Phoenix.

Naomi Frears says: “I am delighted to be exhibiting my work at both RAMM and Exeter Phoenix. I was fascinated by the sleeves and my research on the RAMM collections reinforced this fascination. I hope people will feel involved and included in the fictional conversations that appear in the film.

Lara Goodband, Curator of Contemporary Art at RAMM, says: “Naomi’s new work is a blend of playfulness, emotion and delicate sensitivity. The film responds to RAMM’s varied cover art collections not in a direct way but rather, after 18 months of Covid restrictions, in a thoughtful and humorous way. It breathes new life into the RAMM’s Courtyard Case and will inspire visitors to revisit the historical artifacts on display nearby. This is the result of a successful partnership and co-commissioning process with gallery curator Matt Burrows in Exeter Phoenix. ‘

In other words will be exhibited in the Courtyard Case of the RAMM from September 14 to November 7, 2021. Solo exhibition by Frears falling men opens in Exeter Phoenix on September 18, 2021.


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