Anna Freeman Bentley
My practice explores the built environment; architecture and interiors that invite emotive, psychological, and semiotic readings of space. With each body of work, small corners of the
world are investigated and brought to centre stage. Employing a decadent painterly language with energetic brushwork, the fabricated environments that I depict push the bounds of architectural possibility.
The subject matter for my recent work is taken from a corner of London that is in the throes of gentrification. My paintings document the changing vocabulary of these interiors and seek to capture the complex dynamics, atmospheres, and emotional responses that such places engender. This particular corner of the city appears to be flourishing; but, as is commonly the case with ‘regeneration’, what for some is positive transformation for others is a disturbing process of dislocation. Through painting, these fashionable, attractive interiors are deconstructed and scrutinised in a way that translates something of what is experienced by those who are being forced out of the corner in which they live.
In the process of gentrification we witness an inversion of the idea that one is marginalised by being put in a corner. Instead we see people marginalised by being pushed out of their corner of London, dislocated from home and community. The images of desirable interiors question what it really means to inhabit an area that has become sought after. In the paintings, context is removed and elements are cut out so that the depicted images
become jarringly abstracted and detached from roman(c ideals. Ideas of transience and dislocation are portrayed through these brooding interiors.
Often the views depicted are close-‐ups of overlooked corners or points where a clear reading
of the space has become obscured. The use of cropping and the speed with which my work is executed, in a thin layer of oil paint, mirrors a single frame, emphasising the connection between the cinema(c and the painted image. As in film, the gaze is arrested by potential discoveries, behind each shadow or around the next corner. Painting in a way that mimics the projected veil of a moving image both constructs and deconstructs illusory space, interrogating the nature of space itself.
Behind and Before 2015
Oil on board
200 x 240 cm / 78.7 x 94.5 inches
(Four panels 100 x 120cm each)
Anna Freeman Bentley
Anna Freeman Bentley (b. Freeman 1982) studied in London graduating with a BA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts in 2004 after completing an Erasmus Exchange at Kunsthochschule Weissensee, Berlin in 2003, and then with an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art in 2010. She has had solo exhibitions in London, Chichester, Berlin, Venice and California. She was awarded artists residencies at the Michelin-starred restaurant Pied a Terre, London 2012, the Florence Trust, London 2011 and Galerie Kollaborativ, Berlin, 2008. Selected group exhibitions include the Prague Biennale 2011, the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2009 and the East London Painting Prize in 2014 and 2015. Her work is part of the Saatchi Collection, London, the Howard and Roberta Ahmanson Collection, California and numerous private collections worldwide. In 2015 the artist’s first monograph was published by Anomie Publishing, featuring commissioned texts by Michele Robecchi, Dr. Ben Quash, and Marina Cashdan.