Gerry Smith


Freya Gabie
20 January - 24 February 2024
Private view 19 January - 6 - 9 pm

Pack of open playing cards each displaying one of the original rose name plaques from the El Paso Municipal Rose Garden in the 1950s. The names echo the cultural/political climate of the time and offer an insight into the U.S. relationship to Mexico/colonialism/empire.

Duet is a body of work made while on and in response to spending three months as artist in residence on the Mexican/U.S. border. The exhibition explores the landscape of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez as a repository of shared connections and experience. Giving the land voice to both remember and carry the complications, contradictions, and beauty of the place; the way these nuances act in harmony, and the notes of discord they strike.
For this exhibition, Freya Gabie draws out threads that weave the two cities of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso together. Approaching the intricate back and forth of economic, social, and medical journeys that take place between the people and objects of the border, and examining how the border both generates the flow of goods, services, and people and dams it, revealing the ways the resulting impacts are felt.
The work considers the landscape the two cities share, approaching the exploitation and exclusion of the land’s natural resources to ask how this may echo the exploitation and exclusion created by an international border. The exhibition also focuses on both cities’ relationship with the native flora: indigenous plants specifically adapted to the hardness of the desert and crucial to the survival of communities for centuries before the settlement of Paso Del Norte, are now reframed alongside plants brought here from other places. The work seeks to negotiate how these introductions displace, change, and challenge the delicate environmental and social balance of a desert region.

Freya Gabie studied sculpture at Chelsea College of Art and the Royal College of Art. Her work is site responsive and she regularly works collaboratively with individuals and communities in the UK and abroad, from opera singers, clog dancers, and archaeologists, to iron miners, and many people in between. She has exhibited and been commissioned widely, both internationally and in the UK. Previous projects include; Duet The Bar, El Paso, USA,  All Fired Up  a collaborative commission with Historic England responding to the Ceramic Industry of Stoke on Trent and Poole, Hold The Line Journeying aboard the Dr Fridtjof Nansen vessel with the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research down the South West coast of Africa, Leonardo Da Vinci, A life in Drawing Bristol Museum, Palsmuseum, Sweden, Châteaux De Bosmolet, Diep-Haven Festival France, USF Art Centre, Norway, Neo: Bolton, 108 New York, Fljótstunga Iceland and, Franconia Sculpture Park USA. She is currently undergoing a public artwork commission for UCL for the new neurological research hospital being built on Gray’s Inn Road for the IoN, DRI, and UCLH. Freya has just returned from a residency in Bangalore, India, where she has been responding to two historic gardens, Lalbagh Botanic garden and Cubbon Park, towards an exhibition at Artcore, Darby, UK in spring 2024.

Difficult Maps

Difficult Maps
Pen on paper
each 59 x 79 cm (framed)
Drawings made in EP/CJ Chamizal plants growing on the U.S./Mexican border. This hardy desert plant gave its name to a long-running dispute caused by a southern shift in the Rio Grande river. Every part of this plant is used by native Tigua Indians.