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Tom de Freston
Paintings from Shakespeare
Garden Gallery, Pallant House Gallery
28 February – 22 April 2012


To coincide with the exhibition ‘The Art of Chichester Festival Theatre:
A Celebration’ the Garden Gallery features two paintings by the contemporary history painter Tom de Freston, whose work often explores subjects from drama and literature. The paintings are part of a series that was commissioned by the British Shakespeare Association in 2011. De Freston’s painting ‘Elizabeth Siddal as Ophelia’ depicts the
Pre-Raphaelite muse and artist floating in the bath as she modelled for John Everett Millais’ iconic painting ‘Ophelia’ (1852) based on a scene from ‘Hamlet’. ‘Lear and the Fool’ presents a grotesque, excessively dramatic scene from the tragedy of ‘King Lear’, with a variety of painting styles that bridge abstraction and figuration in order to present dark visions of humanity. In the words of Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate: ‘De Freston’s paintings are confirmation that contemporary art is still able to offer a new and engaging reflection on themes that have fascinated artists for centuries.’ The paintings are accompanied by poems in response by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.

Since completing a BA in Fine Art at Leeds Metropolitan University (2005) and an MA in History of Art at the University of Cambridge (2007), Tom de Freston has been the Leverhulme Artist in Residence at Cambridge University, the Levy Plumb Artist in Residence at Christ’s College, and the Artist in Residence at the Leys School in Cambridge. His altarpieces of the Deposition were commissioned by Christ’s College Chapel and installed on East Sunday 2011. He is represented by Breese Little.