Rachel Howard 'Regulus', 2011 (Detail), acrylic, house hold gloss and oil on canvas
The exhibition of paintings 'Folie A Deux' at Blain/Southern is until 22nd December. I know Rachel is part of the London scene, well known for hanging out with Mr.Hirst and being a kind of gothic girl with a Francis Bacon vibe and married to the Director of OtherCriteria, but we won't hold that against her. This is an interesting painting, for me she does have her moments when her she focuses on abstraction. But I think she gets distracted at being a kind of naughty British Cecily Brown with her suggestive figures, these leave me cold. Blain/Southern explore some interesting childhood ideas in their press release:
'Howard grew up on a farm in County Durham and attended a Quaker school, the questions that unsettled her childhood and troubled her in adolescence (“If God made me, then who made God?”) remain anchored in her work. “I am petrified of death,” she explains, “I can accept that I will rot and putrefy, but it’s the idea that I will no longer love, paint or think that chills me”. Rachel Howard does not believe in God. But she believes in life – in living, and she believes in art – in painting. It is this faith that shines through her work, and imbues her art with a quality that Joachim Pissarro has declared “sublime” according to Kant’s Critique of Judgement: “The sublime is to be found in an object even devoid of form, so far as it immediately involves, or else by its presence, provokes, a representation of limitlessness, yet with a super-added thought of its totality.” Howard’s work is total and limitless in its refined glossy abstraction: it allows us to grasp a part of human existence that can not be seen but only felt.' ..and this is an interesting painting also, reminds me of the last Rothko paintings where they just empty out their life..these are real suicide paintings, he was found dead in his studio weeks later.
|Rachel Howard 'Suicide Painting 4', 2007, household gloss and acrylic on canvas|
|Mark Rothko 'Black on Gray' 1969|