Fenella Fielding: Actress
9 November – 18 December 2022
Thursday – Sunday 12.00-4.00pm
Viewing by appointment at other times.
For further information contact Jonathan Ross:
Phone 07747 807576
This exhibition is a celebration of the life and career of an actress: the late Fenella Fielding. Working closely with her friend, archivist and biographer, Simon McKay and the Fenella Fielding Foundation, we’ve added to the archive of her life through the creation of new material. The exhibition also acknowledges Fenella’s continued relevance and the gift of herself, which she gave to acting.
To pay tribute to Fenella, I’ve commissioned a total of fifteen portraits from five artists. Through these new paintings, we examine Fenella and her life through five prisms: Fenella the theatre actress; the film and television actress; her carefully crafted image (the makeup, the wigs, and THOSE eyelashes!); the infamous Carry On Screaming ‘smoking’ scene (but from a slightly different angle) and Fenella herself, in more unguarded moments, where we may perhaps catch a glimpse of Fenella when she is not acting.
Fionn Wilson, artist and curator
The Artists are:
Natalie Dowse, a member and committee member of Contemporary British Painting. Recipient of the Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award.
Sal Jones, long listed for the Jackson’s Open Art prize and the Women’s United art prize. Shortlisted for the Wales Contemporary Art Prize.
Cathy Lomax, founder of Transition Gallery and the editor of Arty and Garageland magazines. Winner of the inaugural Contemporary British Painting Prize.
Jeanette Watkins, regular exhibitor at the New English Art Club and Royal Society of British Artists. Finalist for The Holly Bush Emerging Woman Painter Prize.
Fionn Wilson, whose work is in public collections including the Museum of London, the UCLH art collection and Museum of National History of Denmark. Finalist in the National Open Art exhibition.
Fenella’s legendary “Do you mind if I smoke?” scene from ‘Carry on Screaming’ has been converted into an animated lenticular portrait by Patrick Boyd, specially for this exhibition.
It’s like having a video on your wall that you play by moving back and forth in front of it!
To complement the portraits, downstairs there is a second room of 3D pieces and moving images and other exhibits to tell you more about Fenella.
Andrew Logan is a British sculptor, jeweller, painter and performance artist. We’ve included the fabulous Fenella head he created in 2002 and a wall portrait of her from the 1980s.
Martin Firrell is a British public artist. I was familiar with his ‘metaFenella’ project and was very keen for more people to see that, particularly as it was a way to introduce some of Fenella’s own very shrewd observations and insights about people and life. This is a self-service computer-based artwork that allows Fenella to offer you great dos and don’ts, which, if followed, could help you avoid many difficulties in your own life.
Patrick Boyd works with time and motion in space to produce an eclectic mix of photography, holography, art, science and lenticular printing. I was especially curious about Patrick’s lenticular work, but I didn’t understand the impact it had until I saw the first piece he produced for us. I looked at it and rocked from one heel to the other. As I moved, I watched Fenella’s hand gesturing come-hither to me. Perhaps, we can think of the downstairs room as the come-hither section of the exhibition.
Late additions to the show are three items of Fenella’s evening wear from across the decades, all padded and pinned by Neil Cunningham. (One of them is a trouser suit and silk blouse made by Neil for Fenella to wear at her 90th birthday party.)
There are two of Fenella’s wigs styled by Darren Evans, who did Fenella’s hair and make up for her 90th and various photo shoots at that time.
We’ve included some of Fenella’s wonderfully witty and insightful quotes from across the years, all very revealing about who she was. These are presented as posters, designed by Phil Illingworth, who also produced the exhibition catalogue. (All other exhibition publicity was designed by Bo G. Pedersen.)
Simon McKay, Fenella’s close friend and collaborator.