Current & Future Contemporary Art
Naomi Frears, In Other Words
14 September to 7 November 2021
Commissioned by RAMM to complement her solo exhibition Men Falling at Exeter Phoenix, In Other Words is a new stop-motion work by Naomi Frears. It explores the expressive and communicative qualities of sleeves and arms.
The short film draws on the artist’s research into RAMM’s historic costume and fine art collections. Taking inspiration from the range of sleeves in paintings, prints, and fashion illustrations, this new work explores the infinite possibilities of non-verbal language through arm movement, with sleeves framing every gesture and communication.
In Other Words will be shown in the Courtyard Case at RAMM from 14 September to 7 November 2021. Her solo exhibition opens at Exeter Phoenix on 18 September 2021.
Watch this short interview with artist Naomi Frears here:
Amy Shelton, Biophilia: The Exeter Florilegium
18 September to 21 November 2021
RAMM launched a Covid-19 commission in April 2020, selected by open competition from a range of proposals by artists living or working in Exeter. Amy Shelton was chosen to create her artwork Biophilia: The Exeter Florilegium, made in response to the first Covid-19 lockdown.
This new work includes a herbarium of pressed plant and wildflower specimens compiled on Shelton’s daily lockdown walks around Exeter in spring and summer 2020. It also includes flower contributions from staff and patients at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS hospital, as well as specimens from the gardens of people self-isolating.
Celebrating local biodiversity and the importance of green space for wellbeing, Shelton’s exhibition also includes her artwork The Herald of Spring. This will be complemented by items from RAMM’s collection belonging to Devon’s renowned botanist and illustrator William Keble Martin.
Shelton’s proposal was selected by the panel Peter Randall-Page, sculptor; Julien Parsons, Head of Collections at RAMM; and Lara Goodband, Contemporary Art Curator and Programmer at RAMM.
Biophilia: The Exeter Florilegium will be shown in Gallery 20 at RAMM from 18 September to 21 November 2021. It will be accompanied by Breathe, a photographic series by artist Michelle Sank.
Watch a short introduction to Amy Shelton’s commission here:
Michelle Sank, Breathe
18 September to 21 November 2021
Internationally-acclaimed photographer Michelle Sank will exhibit her photographic series Breathe, which documents the first Covid-19 lockdown in the Wonford area of Exeter. Taken on her daily walks, Sank’s photographs offer poignant visual records of individual and shared experiences of social isolation under lockdown.
Featuring images of people, their homes, and the everyday urban landscape, the exhibition explores how people negotiated their relationships to each other and to private and public spaces during the pandemic.
The works displayed in the exhibition were acquired by RAMM through the Contemporary Art Society’s Rapid Response Fund in summer 2020. They form part of RAMM’s new contemporary photography collection.
Breathe will be shown in Gallery 20 at RAMM from 18 September to 21 November 2021. It will be accompanied by RAMM’s Covid-19 commission Biophilia: The Exeter Florilegium by Exeter artist Amy Shelton.
Watch this short interview with Michelle Sank here:
John Walters, SOUTHCOTTIAN
19 November 2021 to 30 January 2022
SOUTHCOTTIAN (2019) is 360° video footage of gameplay recorded inside artist John Walter’s virtual reality game of the same name, inspired by Devon-born prophetess Joanna Southcott (1750-1814).
Walter’s game is an immersive form of storytelling about Southcott’s phantom pregnancy at the age of 64, which she believed to be the new messiah. Combining digital animation, 3D scanning, religious memes and an explosion of visual mash-ups, Walter collages together a surreal Where’s Wally? quest to find Joanna Southcott, presenting her phantom pregnancy as an allegory of Brexit.
This commission draws on RAMM’s extensive collection of material about Southcott, and will be installed in RAMM’s ‘Making History’ gallery where objects from this collection are on display.
The SOUTHCOTTIAN game is available to download online and play for free through VR headsets.
29 January to 29 May 2022
Acclaimed contemporary artist Joy Gregory has been commissioned by RAMM to create new artwork. This will be displayed as part of In Plain Sight: Transatlantic Slavery and Devon, an exhibition which explores Devon and Exeter’s relationship with the slave trade.
Gregory’s work will respond to these themes and draw on her extensive research into RAMM’s archaeological and textile collections. Working with curators, people from the local community, and the exhibition’s advisory panel, she is creating work that weaves together a series of stories relating to local voices.
Watch this video for Black History Month 2020 to hear about Joy’s research and ideas:
Simon Pope, Here’s to Thee
Commissioned in collaboration with University of Exeter Arts & Culture, Here’s to Thee is a project by internationally-renowned artist Simon Pope. He will collaborate with a team of creative practitioners and academics to explore the ecology and human cultures of cider-making.
A programme of public events and displays hosted by RAMM, the University and project partners allows audiences to discover more about the fascinating world of microbiomes. One particular event is a wassail: the ancient custom of carrying out rituals such as singing a wassail song and drinking cider from a communal bowl. Pope worked in close-collaboration with folk singer-songwriter Jim Causley and ceramic artist Abigail North to produce his own experimental song and bowl, which were presented at a public performance.
The wassail bowl will go on display at RAMM in the ‘Making History’ gallery in January 2022.
Here’s to Thee is supported by RAMM, the University of Exeter, Arts Council England, Canada Council for the Arts, and Gray’s Devon Cider.