Rachel Howard explores themes of suicide and addiction in her Fiction/Fear/Fact catalogue, and opens discussion of her work with Adam E. Mendelsohn. Other Criteria has a limited edition of 27, distributed with a unique drawing by the artist within each cover. The book is prefaced by a poem by Sue Hubbard.
Swiftly executed drawings in Indian ink are accompanied by large, household gloss paintings. These scenes are figurative and symbolic – crow and dog are strung up, suspended as token harbingers of death and depression. They are joined by the slack bodies of anonymous men and women, whose privacy is transgressed by our presence. Cadavers are drained; some nude, others slumped and dirtied with the half-loaded paint brush. Many have been decapitated or severed at the hip, their necks or knees jutting into the frame. These are paintings about loss, fear and desperation; fictional paintings about factual realities.
In keeping with the problematic subject matter, the artist explains: ‘painting is like a sort of alchemy of timing, patience, precision and chance […] I want these works to capture pain.’
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.