Anna Freeman Bentley’s paintings use architectural imagery to explore the emotive potential of space and its associations with longing. Grounded in an interest in the baroque her source material includes junk shops, restaurants, private members clubs, flea markets and designed interiors. Central to her work is an investigation into surface, tension and the atmosphere evoked by these different interior surroundings. The spaces she depicts are empty, yet visual signifiers point to evidence of people and social happenings.
This, Freeman Bentley’s third publication to date, is centred on the relationship between painting and cinema and is divided into sections dedicated to major paintings on canvas and panel, and a number of works on paper (all works 2021–22). Freeman Bentley’s work here is focused on sets from 'The Colour Room' (2021), a film that tells the story of the early career of celebrated British ceramicist Clarice Cliff (1899–1972). Many of the titles of the paintings are taken from lines of the film’s script.
The foreword to the book is written by Rollo Campbell and Matt Incledon of Frestonian Gallery. An essay by writer and critic Thomas Marks draws out the importance to her work of historic and contemporary cinema and temporary architecture. Marks notes a change in palette in these new paintings, with Freeman Bentley embracing pastels and tracing parallels between the artist herself and Cliff. Marks’ essay discusses what he terms the ‘overlapping realities that the film set presents’, highlighting examples of anomalies on set (a cable or air purifier) that Freeman Bentley captures within her work. An interview with Georgie Paget, co-founder of Caspian Films, production company for 'The Colour Room', meanwhile, provides insight into the artist’s particular interest in the artifice of film props and of the film set as a layered space ‘steeped in meaning, purpose and potential.’ The two discuss the reciprocity of painting and cinema in detail, recounting Freeman Bentley’s experiences on the film’s sets and discussing her working processes, beginning with taking photographs on set, through to oil sketches and the later development of large-scale canvases.
The publication is edited by Matt Incledon and Matt Price. It is designed by Joe Gilmore, printed and bound by Gomer, Wales, and co-published by Frestonian Gallery, London, and Anomie Publishing, London. The publication coincides with the second solo show by Anna Freeman Bentley at Frestonian Gallery, by whom the artist is represented. The exhibition, also titled ‘make believe’ is divided between two sites: the 2022 Armory Show, New York, and Frestonian Gallery, London.
Anna Freeman Bentley studied Painting at Chelsea College of Art, Kunsthochschule Berlin Weissensee and the Royal College of Art. Awards and residencies include Palazzo Monti Residency, Brescia, Italy, 2019; The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant 2019 and 2017, and Artist in Restaurant residency at Michelin-starred restaurant Pied à Terre, London, 2012. Selected exhibitions (* denotes solo) include DENK Gallery, Los Angeles, 2019*, Ahmanson Gallery, Irvine, 2018*; Space K, Seoul, 2017; 68projects, Berlin, 2017; the East London Painting Prize 2014 and 2015; Workshop Gallery, Venice, 2012*; MAC Birmingham, 2011; Prague Biennale, 2011, and the Bloomberg New Contemporaries, 2009. Her work is part of the Hotel Crillon collection, Paris; Saatchi Collection, London; Hogan Lovells Collection, London; the Ahmanson Collection, California, and numerous private collections worldwide.
RRP: £25 / €30 / $33
UK release date: 22 September 2022
US release date: 20 October 2022
Texts by Thomas Marks and Georgie Paget
Foreword by Rollo Campbell and Matt Incledon
Edited by Matt Incledon and Matt Price
Designed by Joe Gilmore, Qubik
Co-published by Frestonian Gallery, London, and Anomie Publishing, London
Images © Anna Freeman Bentley, 2022. Courtesy the artist and Frestonian Gallery, London.
Photography by Anna Arca and Peter Mallet