At 17, Freemantle was selected as one of five students from around the world to study at St Oswald’s Academy in London, where he completed an intensive, five-year apprenticeship in traditional drawing, painting, sculpture and geometry. These principles continue to inform his rigorous approach to painting and art practice.
Founded on an intimate understanding of painting and art history, his work explores the relationship between his body, time and the earth, each of which serve as materials and as inspiration. Using a variety of media including egg tempera, mountain rocks and ochre in his paintings, he situates the body as an organic presence at one with the landscape, at the same time integrating the landscape physically in the human act of painting. In an age damned as Anthropocene, Freemantle uses his passionate and visceral canvases to consciously and resolutely make the case for redemption and forgiveness of the human – and as a male, of the man – on the planet.
Freemantle has been exhibiting internationally since 2007, with group and solo exhibitions in London, Cape Town, Amsterdam, Johannesburg and Edinburgh, including a major commission by The Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg.
In addition to an expansive studio practice, Freemantle has been working as an educator, in 2002 setting up the painting department of The Art Academy in London and writing ‘Anatomy made simple for Artists’ published by Arcturus (UK) in 2004. He has also curated numerous exhibitions in the context of Edinburgh International Fashion Festival, which he co-founded in 2012, and as co-director of Hazard Gallery, which he co-founded and ran in Johannesburg from 2015 to 2019.
His work is represented in collections worldwide including SAB Miller, Nirox Foundation and the private collection of HRH King Charles III.