For the past 2 decades Howard though primarily an abstract painter, draws, be it the human body, animal or inanimate objects drawings keeps the 'eye in' and is an important part of Howard's studio practice . Describing the simple pleasures of drawing she says,'drawing for me is drawing my thoughts, realising and giving clarity to even the tiniest of ideas. also the pure enjoyment of the materials, the ink, the paper, the way the pigment is absorbed , the weight of the ink on the brush. Like many artists in the past I'm influenced by east asian calligraphy, writing as drawing , drawing as writing'.
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.