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A group of people dance before the astral, inky-blue opening of a cave or temple; hazy hills and botanical forms waver in a pale background whose shifting, watery figuration figures the openness and incompleteness of memory. Dance of the Shadows, painted the same year that Freya Douglas-Morris graduated from the Royal College of Art,is an elegant example of her wistful, timeless approach to paint, which in some ways echoes the fluid vistas of Peter Doig. ‘To a degree’, she says, ‘almost all of the work I make is an “artificial arcadia”, in some respects the places and worlds I depict are utopian, but the constructs of the landscapes are very much artificial. I meld different aspects of places together, playing with a variety of signs, flora, foliage, pattern, location, landscape and narrative that together depicts both anywhere and nowhere … Memory is an interesting device; it edits, adapts, heightens and loses visual information. The places I have seen, books I’ve read, landscapes I’ve viewed, either in first person or in film, are used as a way of creating the essence of a place.’
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