JG: Could you tell us a bit about yourself? How long have you been a practicing artist?
FDM: I’ve been painting for a while. For about 7 years I had various studios in London before I went back into education and completed an MA at the RCA finishing in 2013. Since then I’ve been based in a studio in East London.
JG: How do you begin a painting, do you have a set idea when you begin?
FDM: I have an idea - it might be a figure, the tone of a painting or a feeling I would like to describe, but I like to leave the making of the painting really loose. The mood and atmosphere is often a starting point and the image will progress from there.
I use various visual cues, photographs, books, films, patterns in nature and fabrics and these might give me an opening idea. The works I make on paper for example are never drawn out; the figures and everything around them are painted straight onto the paper. The image becomes a blend of the original idea I have in my mind and an exploration of working quickly in water based paints, letting them run fluidly and allowing and encouraging the image to appear in the making. When I am working in oil paints I want to keep the same lightness and fluidity, I never want the paintings to feel over worked or heavy, finding a balance between this and building up the image with layers and rich colours, hopefully achieving a light intensity.
JG: Would you say your paintings work in series or does each piece function individually?
FDM: Both. Each painting works in it’s own right, it’s own space. But yes there is certainly a dialogue and flow from one painting to the next. I don’t really group my work as such; it has up till now been a flowing process from one painting to the next, each informing and relating to each other but also each painting working individually. Saying that I am thinking about making a new body of work that does relate to itself as a smaller group of paintings whist still operating in the wider context of my work.
Chorus of One, oil on linen over board, 50 x 40 cm
Night Drifting, oil on linen, 76 x 100 cm
JG: Your paintings feature human figures, embedded within cascading landscapes of colour and flora, fading and remerging. There is a dream-like state about the figures and how they sit within the work. How do these figures operate within the paintings?
FDM: I used to be interested in painting landscapes and environments without any depiction of figures, but over the last few years figures have become far more prominent. They’ve integrated into the paintings, holding a gesture towards a narrative but never explicitly so. The figures are reminiscent of something one might have seen or read, their outfits can become costume-like or else they are simple, paired down and monochromatic. Either way they are protagonists for a narrative without being placed too specifically.
Freya Douglas-Morris (b. 1980, London) lives and works in London. She holds a BA from Brighton University (2002) and a painting MA Royal College of Art (2013). Solo exhibitions include: Light For Company, Lychee One, London (2016) One place or another, Spazio Cabinet, Milan (2014)
Morning, oil on canvas, 140 x 110 cm
Selected group exhibitions include: The Diamond Sea, Kristian Day at The Saatchi Gallery (2017), The Classical, Kristian Day (2016), Paper, Publication, Performance, Lychee One, London, (2016) Carnival Glass, Block 336, London (2015) A Crazed Flowering, Frameless Gallery, London, (2015) 100 Painters of Tomorrow, New York, USA (2014) Elsewhere, (r)isse gallery & Transition Gallery, Varese (2014) East London Painting Prize, Bow Arts Trust, London (2014) Freya Douglas-Morris & Marita Fraser, Peter Von Kant Gallery, London (2014); Re-Define, Exhibition & Auction, Dallas Contemporary USA (2014); Catlin Art Guide & Exhibition, London (2014); Art Britannia, Miami USA (2013); New Sensation Saatchi Gallery London (2013); Paper, Saatchi Gallery, London (2013).