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); FolieàDeux, 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.
September 29, 2016Rachel Howard: Three Triptychs
Three Triptych 29 September – 12 November 2016 Intragalery, Via Cavallerizza a Chiaia 57, Napoli, 80121
As with Rachel Howard‘s previous investigations into the material potential of household gloss paint, this series of paintings explores the idiosyncratic qualities of oil paint, unpicking the accepted rules of engagement with this most traditional of mediums. By applying and removing paint, Howard creates a palimpsest. The viewer thus simultaneously experiences the final moment in the painting process, as well as the feeling of perpetual flux. This is deepened by the blurring of lines between the genres of abstraction and figuration. A suggestion of landscape is only quietly present, as bridges, trees, the line of the horizon, watery waves and circles seemingly shift in and out of focus, dissolving into unfamiliar images – mere echoes of perceivable shapes.
December 12, 2013CHARITY BOOK: The Artist’s Colouring Book of ABC’s
A number of contemporary artists have collaborated on a charity project to create a children’s alphabetical colouring-in book, titled The Artists’ Colouring Book of ABC.
The project was created by Charlotte Colbert (of Humpty Dumpty Publishing) and the people behind Alteria Art. The funds raised will go to London based Kids Company Charity. The charity was founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh in 1996, supporting vulnerable inner-city children.
For this unique and highly acclaimed exhibition curated by Stacy Engman, an interdisciplinary mix of today’s top creative icons have interpreted a Tarot card using their own iconography. Each artist was matched with a Tarot card based on archetypal themes that their work references. This project distinguishes the art and iconography of our time through interpretation of the cards by the artists — demonstrating that archetypes and myth are still very much alive and present in contemporary art and culture.
The first project of its kind in history, the collection of 78 artists, designers, and photographers in this project represent a comprehensive survey of some of the world’s most influential and original creative minds, and offers and intimate probe into contemporary archetypes, the iconic, myth, meaning, and modes of interpretation. A truly rare occurrence to engage with contemporary art and culture in such an interactive, poetic, and profound way via the extraordinary original interpretations, and the infinite possibilities which exist for combination and exchange.
The directors of Blain|Southern are delighted to present Gravity and Disgrace, a group show curated by Rachel Howard which brings together the artist’s own work with that of Jane Simpson and Amelia Newton Whitelaw. Inspired by the Hayward Gallery’s 1993 exhibition Gravity & Grace: The Changing Condition of Sculpture, 1965 – 1975, the exhibition considers how select artists today continue to explore unconventional materiality through painting and sculpture.
Artists exhibiting this year include Christopher Le Brun PRA, Michael Landy RA, Tracey Emin RA, Ken Howard RA, Raqib Shaw, Calum Innes and Keith Coventry among others. Rachel Howard will be exhibiting her paintings at the exhibition this year.
KEEP ME POSTED is a group show, directed and curated by Julia Royse, that launches a temporary exhibition space in a former post office in East London entitled POSTED.
POSTED will present a series of art exhibitions, performances, screenings and workshops celebrating the ‘post’ and exploring and examining our postal history and heritage.
The exhibitions at POSTED will hopefully inspire people to put pen to paper again as well as reminding us of a time when communication was more personal and less generic.
Artists participating in KEEP ME POSTED include Andreas Blank, Claire Brewster, Jo Broughton, Natasha Chambers, Oliver Clegg, Julie Cockburn, Adam Dix, Itai Doron, Sean Dower, Tracey Emin, Angus Fairhurst, Vanessa Fristedt, Tom Gidley, Cate Halpin, Susie Hamilton, Georgie Hopton, Rachel Howard, Duncan MacAskill, Harland Miller, Polly Morgan, Benjamin Newton, Molly Palmer, Julia Riddiough, Jane Simpson, James White and Miyo Yoshida.
For more information and for images of the show, visit our blog.
March 14, 2010Lutz Becker’s Modern Times
Rachel Howard will be in Lutz Becker’s drawing and film exhibition ‘Modern Times: responding to chaos' at the following venues:
CCA Andratx is pleased to announce the next big collective exhibition of Kunsthalle, the recent acquisitions of ART FOUNDATION MALLORCA. Curated by Patricia Asbaek, Friederike Nymphius and Barry Schwabsky, the work of Phillip Allen and Rachel Howard is part of the current collection and expands this year to include a number of artists celebrated worldwide.
Rachel Howard website
To visit Rachel Howard's website, please click here.
Extract from a conversation between Rachel Howard and Adam E. Mendelsohn
Published in Fiction/Fear/Fact by Other Criteria
Adam E. Mendelsohn: I think it’s interesting that we found some common ground recently with Enrique Metinides’ photographs and also that you are particularly fond of the one where the woman is hanging from a tree (she has committed suicide).
Rachel Howard: I think what struck me about Metinides’ work is the respect and distance he has on his subject matter. It’s poetic and tragic. I think he’s a very special kind of photographer. I know he doesn’t see himself as an artist, so perhaps he’s not as selï¬sh or concerned with his ego.
Most of the work in the show depicts women trussed up in ropes and such. I can’t be sure if they actually refer to suicide because the ï¬gures aren’t dangling from a noose in air, they’re kneeling on the ï¬‚oor etc. It seems like they could also refer to autoerotic type stuff… Like something from a fucked up sex party gone wrong.
These are all suicides except ‘Hooked (Party With Tina)’ and maybe ‘Liar’s Chair’ which is more about the dark side of addiction. ‘Tina’ is a euphemism for crystal meth. ‘Cassandra,’ ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘Eva’, and ‘Ekstasis’ are not sexual paintings they are about loss, alienation, displacement and pain. I like the newness of the surfaces: shiny and fresh. Almost like the surface of a photograph. You can see at the edge of the canvases all the under layers of paint: bright pinks, purples, and blues – colors that never made it to the surface of the ï¬nished painting. The bright, acidic colours work against the disturbing subject matter. The dangling panties in ‘Pawn Dolly’ are very sad and undigniï¬ed.
‘Liar’s Chair’, ‘Pawn Dolly’ and ‘Hooked (Party With Tina)’ are about another presence, a second or third party including or excluding the viewer. You may be complicit. To me the most disturbing painting and original image is ‘Pawn Dolly’. Why would a woman commit suicide with her knickers half down? Then I realised she didn’t do this, the photographer did or someone on the scene – a violation after death. This is a horror on many levels and a painting about ethics and pathos but also throws up where I stand in all this. Am I overstepping boundaries? How would I feel if that was my daughter/sister/mother/friend?
It seems like a lot of the drawings downstairs were preliminary studies for the paintings: ‘Liars Chair’, ‘Hooked (Party With Tina)’ and ‘Eva’, among others.
All the drawings are preliminaries for works that will exist or will never exist. Quite often a drawing is enough. All the paintings come from the drawings shifting the image further away from the original. I love the act of drawing with a brush and Indian ink on paper, the density of the ink and how the paper sucks it in. I feel uninhibited drawing, if it goes pear-shaped it goes in the bin.
Did you work from live models? The drawings seem to depict the same woman more than once.
The representational paintings are more conceptual in that I do a huge amount of research and drawings painted with a brush. These are swiftly done and feel a little like the motions of Japanese calligraphy. The sources of these come from everywhere but mainly the internet and newspapers. My sister is my life model (she is the recurring woman you see in the drawings downstairs).
Neither the paintings (except for one or two) nor the drawings have faces. Why is that?
There are no faces so this keeps them impersonal. Nobody and everybody at the same time. Bodies lay bare with what they’re born with and the history that happens between birth and death. There is nothing to celebrate about pain and suffering. Going back to the paintings – I love the way the black paint that articulates the ï¬gures behaves similarly to ink. It seems so instant and direct. The paintings look like they’ve been poured, like no brushes were involved.
The reaction or ï¬gurative works are more controlled in that I sort of know what I’m doing before I put paint to canvas, as opposed to the abstract works which are freer and have no planning at all. Their scale is more manageable than previous canvases, less of a physical battle. Anyway, I build the background as if it were a painting in its own right and then introduce the ï¬gure. This process is like a sort of alchemy of timing, patience, precision and chance. I paint the ï¬gure from the preliminary drawings, trying to keep it simple and true to the sketch, then dissolve and liquefy all the lines and brushstrokes with the varnish, erasing my hand, my trace.
The abstract paintings are much more difï¬cult and fraught to paint, in fact I’d go as far to say sometimes I hate painting them. It’s very difï¬cult to paint nothing and to get it right – I discard many canvases. I equate this process to a battle. Most of my abstract canvases are very large, so it’s a mental and physical task to complete one.
I read an interview that you did with Damien Hirst in 2001 and I really liked what you said about abstract painting. You said that everywhere you look these days we’re just completely bombarded by ï¬gurative images and that it’s kind of interesting to just put these ï¬elds of colour in front of people and say: ‘Here it is. Try and handle this’. And yet this show is a big shift in that it’s almost all ï¬gurative…
I’ve always done ï¬gurative drawings but what got me into this subject matter was several years ago an acquaintance committed suicide. Firstly, he was dogged for years with mental illness but was also a high-ï¬‚yer, a high-achiever. Secondly, he did a profound amount of research on the internet on ways to kill himself and ï¬nally – and this is what really disturbed me – was that yes, I knew he’d hanged himself but it was the manner in how he’d executed it. Instead of swinging from the rafters as I imagined, he’d merely knelt down and asphyxiated himself. A simple act, as if in prayer. At any given point he could have saved his own life but instead he chose death because life was so unbearable. Also suicide seems to be one of the last taboos… shame and guilt and sin; all the things I love and hate. Suicide, mental health issues and addiction all inform each other to some degree and affect many people at some time in their lives either directly or indirectly. Also, without getting all statistical, suicide is one of the highest causes of death under the age of 25, which is a lot of unhappy, displaced people.
I also think it’s interesting to look at the show as the scrutiny of private behavior… how denigrating that can be. It makes me think of this contemporary notion of celebrating and exposing private suffering and humiliation. That might be a stretch…
What interests me is the line between what is acceptable and not. For example, last week there was a documentary on the death of princess Diana and the role the paparazzi played in her death and how up until they realized she was dead the photographs were like gold dust. But at the moment of her death they were worth nothing. The paparazzi were used as scapegoats initially and pilloried for their hunger for a sensational image, yet vast quantities of people lust after images of celebrities every day. It’s a modern day currency. It’s not celebrity I’m interested in it’s taking a moment, the ï¬nal moment of someone’s (no one’s) death, that I’d found on the internet (usually forensic images that have got into the wrong hands) and transposing that ï¬nal moment somewhere else. If I’m to talk in literary terms I’d say I would want to use the beauty of tragedy in Emile Zola (L’Assommoir, Nana) crossed with Capote’s In Cold Blood, in that I’m taking the skeleton of fact and ï¬lling it with my own interpretation of an event of which we are only given the ending.
The Independent - 6th April 2010
To read Tom Lubbock's review of Modern Times, held at Kettles Yard, Cambridge and De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, click here.
Insomnia, 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, 24 x 20 in
North, 2013, oil on canvas, 36 x 30 in
Reasons, 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, 24 x 20 / 24 x 20 in
Interior (square) 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, 84 x 84 in
Spit and Whisper, 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, 30 x 36 in