Published to accompany Rachel Howard’s solo exhibition of new work at Bohen Foundation, New York in June 2007, this catalogue profiles Howard’s paintings and ink drawings on paper.
Accompanying this is an insightful interview between Howard and New York-based critic Adam E. Mendelsohn, which explores the new figurative direction Howard’s work is taking, and a hauntingly beautiful poem by critic and poet Sue Hubbard.
Howard’s new works incorporate dark shapes of hanging female figures that appear to have been poured onto the canvas, all previous brushstrokes dissolved into a perfectly smooth expanse of paint. Embedded in the saturated colours and glossy surfaces that characterise Rachel Howard’s work, the dire figures set up an uneasy tension between the subject matter and the vibrant physicality of colour, surface and layered depth. The accompanying ink drawings, which are dominated by female suicide, also explore what the artist describes as “the beauty of tragedy”. As Howard puts it, “suicide seems to be one of the last taboos…shame and guilt and sin; all the things I love and hate.”
Howard was born in County Durham and graduated from Goldsmiths College, London, in 1991. She was awarded the Princes Trust Award in 1992 to support her art practice, was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2004 and received the British Council Award in 2008. Recent solo exhibitions include: Northern Echo, Blain|Southern, London (2014); Folie à Deux, Blain|Southern, London (2011); Repetition is Truth, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina, Naples (2011);Still Life / Still Here, Rachel Howard, New Paintings, Sala Pelaires, Palma de Mallorca (2011); Human Shrapnel – oil drawings on paper, Other Criteria, London (2010); Der Wald, Haunch of Venison, Zurich (2009);Rachel Howard: invited by Philippa van Loon, Museum van Loon, Amsterdam (2008); How to Disappear Completely, Haunch of Venison, London (2008); and Rachel Howard – New Paintings, Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles (2007).
Recent group exhibitions include: Invitation to a Beheading, curated by Rachel Howard, Marianne Boesky, New York, US (2013); Drawing Biennial, Drawing Room, London (2013); Freedom Not Genius, curated by Elena Geuna, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin (2012) touring to Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, (2013); Gravity and Disgrace, curated by Rachel Howard, Blain|Southern Gallery, London (2012); Summer Exhibition 2012, Royal Academy, London (2012); Vanitas – The Transience of Earthly Pleasures, All Visual Arts, London (2010); Kupferstichkabinet – Between Thought and Action, White Cube, London (2010); Modern Times, Kettle's Yard Cambridge and De La Warr Pavilion (2010); Mythologies, Haunch of Venison, London (2009); RED Auction, Sothebys at Gagosian Gallery, New York (2008); In the darkest hour there will be light: works from Damien Hirst’s Murderme collection, Serpentine Gallery, London (2006); Jerwood Drawing Prize, London (2004), Intuition/(im)precision, (curated by Thomas Krens, Director of the Guggenheim Foundation) Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Saltzburg, Austria (2004); Shimmering Substance (curated by Barry Shwabsky and Katsou Roberts) The Cornerhouse, Manchester and Arnolfini, Bristol (2002) and The Choice, Exit Art, New York, NY (1998).
Howard’s work can be found in a variety of public and private collections, amongst others: Ackland Art Museum, North Carolina; Museum van Loon, Amsterdam; David Roberts Foundation, London; Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas; CCA Andratx, Spain; Olbricht Collection, Berlin; and the Tate Archive and the Murderme, Hiscox and Jerwood collections, London.
The artist lives and works in London.