Many & Beautiful Things - an exhibition exploring the nostalgia of youth and teen angst

Many & Beautiful Things is a collaborative exhibition from artists Naomi Frears, Binelde Hyrcan, Melanie Manchot, Santiago Mostyn, Beth Emily Richards, and Antler Press in collaboration with students from Plymouth College of Art

Friday 5 July 2019 - Saturday 31 August 2019
Opening Event: Thursday 4 July, 5-7pm, free entry

Many & Beautiful Things is concerned with that time in youth when anything is possible, everything is ahead of you, and life is a rush for new experiences. There may be inner anguishes, but there’s still an abandon, a thirst – before it inevitably leaves, usually gradually, sometimes suddenly. This exhibition is a nostalgia for more innocent times, about when those times change, and the mind-set that it never will.

The group show previously exhibited at the Newlyn and Exchange Galleries, and is now touring to The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, with two additional elements; the inclusion of Plymouth based artist Beth Emily Richards, and a collaboration between Antler Press and students at Plymouth College of Art.

For this exhibition, artist Beth Emily Richards turns her attention to an icon of hyper-masculinity, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Richards’ installation plays with replicating the pop culture icon in a repeating wallpaper pattern using traditional printing equipment at Plymouth College of Art, featuring appropriated fan art, printed using tanning oil as pigment. The work explores fannish desire, 90s nostalgia, and pre-teen bedrooms as celebrity-shrine.

Naomi Frears

In response to the ‘coming-of-age’ theme of the exhibition, BA (Hons) Photography students from Plymouth College of Art have had the opportunity to work with independent publisher Antler Press to produce work that offers an insight into their generation. Fragments of Youth considers the photographers’ own lives, and those of their peers as the subject matter, asking ‘what is it like to be young?’.

Jon Blyth, BA (Hons) Photography Programme Leader, said of the brief set to students by Antler Press: “Having our students working with outside practitioners supports them to develop professional behaviour and expectations for their photographic practice.

"Exhibiting their photographic work in The Gallery is a rare opportunity, as is working with Antler Press and their considerable experience of photography. I hope the works on show will enable a dynamic portrait of life as a young person to emerge as a vibrant photographic exhibition.“

Binelda Hyrcan

Other works on show will include Paris-based artist Binelde Hyrcan’s video work Cambeck, which shows four young boys on an Angolan beach who strive for the ‘good life’, mimicking adult concepts of wealth and success with a playful, swaggering confidence.

Naomi Frears’ photography exposes her confessions of incidents and thoughts that mortified her with shame and embarrassment as a teenager, but as time passes, have faded to mild amusement.

London-based Melanie Manchot filmed her daughter with Super 8 film for a minute each month from the age of 11 to 18 years. 11/18 is presented on nine monitors, exploring the silent and gradual change in her appearance, and her ways of relating to the camera, to her mother, and to the world.

Santiago Mostyn’s All Most Heaven documents a time when he fell in with a group in the New York underground scene, where they developed an idea to build rafts and navigate their way down the Mississippi. The documentation of these trips through film, photography and journal entries, is an intimate and intense celebration of such nomadic relationships.

Hannah Rose, Exhibitions Coordinator for The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, said: “It’s been great to work with Newlyn and The Exchange to bring key works from the Many Beautiful Things exhibition to Plymouth and to frame these artworks alongside a new commission by Beth Emily Richards and our own students work. The universal theme of growing up and transitioning from youth to adulthood is compelling, and dealt with in diversely different ways by each artist involved.”

Blair Todd, Programme Curator at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, said of the exhibition: “Many & Beautiful Things is a celebration of youth in all of its awkward, messy, wild glory. Everyone has been, or is about to be, an adolescent and the exhibition at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange resonated on a very personal level with visitors of all ages. It was also a natural fit to present work by film and photography students and emerging artists alongside internationally acclaimed artists.”