Unknown Pleasures (Study I & II)
These two works are made on the same Chanel advert on the back of two different copies of the Royal Academy Arts magazine in the 1980s. I like the feel of the 80s fashion aesthetic. The marks are part excavation, part obliteration.
Oil & oil stick on RA Magazine Chanel Advertisement
30cm by 24cm
Set of two paintings
I made this painting to try and evoke an intense memory - a woman, wearing a fuchsia pink ballgown, scent of peonies, walking through a room. Time slowed down to an eternity, and then she was gone.
Oil on Linen
144 x 120cm
Life is not an exercise in style. Watching any journey retrospectively, we are tempted to infer purpose focus and strategy and discount, chance, fragility and accident. Yet as convenient as ex post facto rationalisations are, equally they short change and flatten the dense and messy complexity of life. The same is true of painting.
Moliere wrote in Les Précieuses ridicules, “Les gens de qualité savent tout sans avoir jamais rien appris.” People of quality know everything, having never studied anything.
But we need to add that none of us know that at the start of the journey in life and none of us deserve to find out before the end.
The process of finding out is at the heart of Freemantle’s painting practice. ‘Unknown Pleasures’ a title borrowed from Joy Division’s iconic 1979 album is key to understanding that in the process of creation as in life pleasures unknown, may never be known and if known may not be understood or recognized as pleasures at all. Yet those are the pleasures we seek for the fulfilment of the ineffable in our lifetime.
While profoundly intimate and introspective, this quest is not solitary. The act of painting and the painting itself implies a viewer to fulfil its purpose. That urgency ofengagement is what drives the painting and connects us to the works in Unknown Pleasures, from the brushstrokes to the visceral pulsation of the colours. No matter how convenient, they cannot be reduced to technicalities seen through the prism of art history. They demand to be lived and lived together.
La ressemblance de nos destins doit contribuer encore à faire naître notre amitié. The similarity of our destitinies ought to strengthen the tie of friendship between us. Scapin the Schemer.
In a post-punk echo, on Interzone, the penultimate track on Unknown Pleasures, the refrain rings in with “And I was looking for a friend of mine (And I had no time to waste)”.
We are all friend in the brief journey, the pleasures may never be known and there is no time to waste.
I made this new work on an old Map of Edinburgh and the area around it. This map is particularly charged for me. I live in Edinburgh and have walked many of the hills and roads in and around this ancient city. Making marks on the surface of the map feels like a different kind of travelling, and a re-writing of the contours. This is a map from the 1960’s made by edinburgh mapmakers, Bartholomew’s who made many many of the old maps of Britain I’ve been using for the MAP series.
Oil, spray paint & oil stick on vintage map
80 x 70cm
When I was a child we had a globe of the world in our house. The kind that spins and has all the topographic bumps and troughs representing the mountains and chasms of this great planet. I would close my eyes, spin the globe and let my fingers run along the surface. I’d be traveling at warp speed in my mind. And when the globe stopped spinning I’d open my eyes and look where my fingers were resting. What new place on the globe had I discovered? Then I’d travel there in my mind. Making vapor trails of discovery. I’m still doing this with these new map works. Exmoor. What an evocative word..
LONDON. East end. Hackney. Bethnal Green. looking north. Chingford. Pilgrims Hatch. Great Baddow. I find every name so evocative. This was the first in this series of larger MAP works. This one of North East London looking North.
Oil, spray paint and oil stick on vintage map
70 x 80cm