Rachel Howard: At Sea (18 July – 4 October)

Celebrated British painter to show new work at Hastings’ Jerwood Gallery

Rachel Howard’s abstract paintings which cover a multitude of human experiences and emotions have been globally critically acclaimed by the art world cognoscenti.

Rachel Howard, You Can Save Me, 2015 copyright the artist & Blain Southern

You Can Save Me, 2015 (c) the artist, courtesy BlainSouthern

Now, Howard has created an exhibition of new works – Rachel Howard: At Sea – executed over the past 24 months with Jerwood Gallery in mind, and which will be on display there from 18 July to 4 October 2015.

Navigating between the abstract and the figurative, Rachel Howard’s paintings explore the fragility of the human condition; examining the complexity of our emotional spectrum. This significant body of new work has been created specifically for this exhibition at the Jerwood Gallery, in part drawing parallels between the coastal location of the gallery and memories of Howard’s childhood home on the coast of County Durham.

Rachel says “I grew up on a farm near the sea on the North East coast of England, and having a permanent horizon every day to look at gives a wonderful reassurance in what can be at times a very uncertain world. My show at the Jerwood explores both these aspects of certainty and uncertainty.”

These opposing viewpoints are expressed in Howard’s paintings through a tension that she creates between subject matter and the physicality of her painting process. Often working on four or five pieces simultaneously, she applies her colours, lets them rest, then disturbs them with turpentine, varnishes, or successive layers of paint, a process she refers to as ‘unpicking’ the painting – a push and pull between control and relinquishing control.

Over a dozen new paintings, ranging from large-scale canvases to smaller works, shift the accepted rules of how the medium of oil paint is approached. Surfaces feel as if they are disintegrating or unstable, with gestural interference unsettling previously pristine layers of paint. Works such as Lean To, North, and You Can Save Me draw on maritime themes to investigate the sense of being at odds with the world. Internal psychological states of being ‘at sea’ are suggested, as abstracted images encourage a sense of drift and uncertainty.

Director Liz Gilmore says “We are incredibly pleased to welcome leading British artist Rachel Howard to Jerwood Gallery. Part of Jerwood Gallery’s role is to showcase British artist s– particularly painters who we feel are important and influential. Rachel Howard meets that brief. This is a completely new body of work and is part of the larger Festival of the Sea to be held here at Jerwood Gallery here during the summer.”

Rachel Howard was born in County Durham in 1969 and graduated from Goldsmiths College, London in 1992. She was awarded the Prince’s Trust Award in 1992, was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2004 and received the British Council Award in 2008. Today she divides her time between London and Gloucestershire.

Her works are in a number of public and private collections including Ackland Art Museum, North Carolina; Museum van Loon, Amsterdam; David Roberts Foundation, London; Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas; and the Murderme and Hiscox collections, London. Her recent solo exhibitions include Northern Echo, Blain|Southern, London, UK, 2014; Folie à Deux, Blain|Southern, London, UK, 2011; Repetition is Truth, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina, Naples, Italy, 2011.

Also on display is Rachel Howard’s Selection from the Jerwood Collection, a two room display of works curated by Rachel from the Jerwood Collection.

Rachel Howard: At Sea (18 July – 4 October) will form part of a larger summer Festival of the Sea – including parallel exhibitions Quentin Blake: Life under Water – a Hastings Celebration (2 July – 6 September 2015) Lowry by the Sea will be on display from 11 June – 1 November 2015

For more information visit jerwoodgallery.org and follow us on Twitter @jerwoodgallery

 

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