Mall Galleries is pleased to present the eighth edition of FBA Futures, the UK’s largest annual survey of emerging contemporary figurative art, mapping new practices and ideas of representation and draughtsmanship.

In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in figurative art emerging from British art schools and more generally in the wider art market. FBA Futures, as a survey of figurative art by new graduates, has been enriched and diversified by the way early-career artists are embracing and experimenting with the genre.

Within this agora of voices surface themes that stand out each year, illuminating the preoccupations of the next generation of artists. For example, bodies abound in this exhibition, and in the wake of the #MeToo movement, particularly so from female artists exploring their own through a feminist lens or challenging the male gaze in the history of painting. 

Amy Steel A Long Last Look

Amy Steel’s neolithic mound in Silbury Hill draws comparisons with the female body, and is shown being discussed by male archaeologists with their backs turned to it in an unconsulted dissection of its form and function. Nearby, Miranda Forrester’s translucent bodies painted on stretched plastic are drawn from a life drawing class for womxn of colour, a safe space to combat the fetishization of black women’s bodies.

Miranda Forrester Naked Truth Series

As if to complement the Body, a theme of the Mind: a reoccurring thread of memory. Alex Clayton’s tapestries in a technique taught by a Finnish grandmother are the product of personal and collective memory. Seungwon Jung’s Rock, also tied in knots of yarn, traces the Earth’s geological memory, a vertical history, drawn from a digital archive.

Tobi Alexandra Falade unpacks her Yoruba, Nigerian and British histories: generational memory impacted by colonisation, migration and diaspora. Eleanor Watson’s tiny oils of objects from stately homes built on the wealth of the Empire confront ideas of nostalgia in British history and remind us that some histories require an active unforgetting.

Tobi Alexandra Falade Between Two Worlds

FBA Futures 2020 is comprised of the artists who will go on to shape the future of figurative art and they will join seven previous years of rising stars whose work we see in museums and galleries around the country.

We would like to thank our exhibition sponsor Minerva, without whose support this exhibition would not happen and in particular Minerva’s CEO, Ben Tucker, for his individual support along the way.

Anna Bromwich, Curator, FBA Futures

FBA Futures 2020 runs until Sunday 18 January. 

Discover the exhibition now