It was wonderful to see the work of Frances Richards on display again at the Glynn Vivian Gallery in Swansea this weekend. I became aware of her work after the retrospective I visited back in 2019 – see here. This time, just one painting: Metamorphosis, 1967 was the inspiration for three of the works commissioned for a new exhibition, On Your Face x Glynn Vivian: Queer Reflections that introduces queer art and identities in traditionally heteronormative spaces.
Each member of the On Your Face collective selected artworks from Glynn Vivian that they had a natural affinity with when exploring their own queer identity. Their reflections on these selected artworks challenge the current narrative behind that art, and open up a world of contemporary queer Welsh narratives. The project seeks to disrupt the solemn atmosphere of traditional gallery spaces through live performance, installation, workshops and communal art practices. Queer Reflections looks to strip back the layers of historical and contemporary art; to add new stories, new ways of looking and new histories and narratives that will not be lost. It is also a celebration of diverse identity: a positive reframing of conversations surrounding sexuality and gender in the arts.
Blooming is a a stop-motion animation film by Efa Blosse Mason. Inspired by Frances Richards “gentle, surreal image of a woman turning into a pink flower, Blooming uses a fleshy plaster-scene to invite the viewer to look at the world from a plant’s eye view. A common homophobic comment is that being queer is ‘unnatural’, despite the opposite being true: scientists are seeing more and more examples of queerness in ecology. This playful film is a celebration of desire and pleasure. “