Rachel Howard plays with the tensions between control and chaos, order and entropy, making and unmaking, beauty and destruction. Working mainly as a painter, she revels in the joy of the material and the intense physicality of her process. Over the past 25 years, religion, repetition, mortality, fragility, uncertainty, madness and violence have been recurring themes in her works.
Circle Square, 2015 comes from a series of grid and line paintings. These consist of intricate overlapping lines and disintegrated surfaces, which hint at unstable worlds, entropy and collapse. Howard often displays an irreverence for her material; for example, in the 1990s and early 2000s she used only household gloss paint, wanting to humanise this functional medium used mainly for painting doors and windows. Here, she used gravity as an invisible paintbrush to attain the desired effect, freeing herself from more traditional painting methods and nodding to her heroes, the abstract expressionists of the 1940s and 1950s. The past decade has seen Howard return to oil paint for the first time since her teens and, once more, a desire to use this medium in an obtuse manner.
- Artwork Details: 61 x 61cm
- Material description: Oil on canvas
- Credit line: © the artist
- Medium: Painting
- Accession number: ACC13/2018