Rachel Jones Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones

British
b. 1991
/

Overview

'I want to translate all that lust for self-expression into a language that exists outside of words, and instead relates to seeing and feeling with your eyes.'

Working in painting, installation, sound and performance, Rachel Jones explores a sense of self as a visual, visceral experience. In her paintings, she grapples with the challenges of finding visual means to convey abstract, existential concepts. In depicting the psychological truths of being and the emotions these engender, abstraction becomes a way of expressing the intangible. The artist repeats motifs and symbols across her series to create associative, even familial, relationships between them, underscoring their kinship as part of her ongoing investigation of identity.

The figure is notably abstracted in her works, as Jones is interested in 'using motifs and colour as a way to communicate ideas about the interiority of Black bodies and their lived experience'. Abstracted mouths and teeth suggest a symbolic and literal entry point to the interior and the self. Within this vivid inner landscape, oral and, more recently, floral forms emerge and recede from view. Her expressive use of colour becomes a way of provoking or communicating with viewers, who bring their own lived experiences and cultural backgrounds to the interpretation of her works. This sense of community and shared history comes to the fore in her installations and performances, in which imagery, sound and music coalesce in a celebration of Black culture.

Working in painting, installation, sound and performance, Rachel Jones explores a sense of self as a visual, visceral experience. In her paintings, she grapples with the challenges of finding visual means to convey abstract, existential concepts. In depicting the psychological truths of being and the emotions these engender, abstraction becomes a way of expressing the intangible. The artist repeats motifs and symbols across her series to create associative, even familial, relationships between them, underscoring their kinship as part of her ongoing investigation of identity.

The figure is notably abstracted in her works, as Jones is interested in 'using motifs and colour as a way to communicate ideas about the interiority of Black bodies and their lived experience'. Abstracted mouths and teeth suggest a symbolic and literal entry point to the interior and the self. Within this vivid inner landscape, oral and, more recently, floral forms emerge and recede from view. Her expressive use of colour becomes a way of provoking or communicating with viewers, who bring their own lived experiences and cultural backgrounds to the interpretation of her works. This sense of community and shared history comes to the fore in her installations and performances, in which imagery, sound and music coalesce in a celebration of Black culture.

The artist creates a tension or friction in her paintings through the kaleidoscopic palette, boldness of competing forms and interplay of textures. She has described her work as an 'exegesis of colour', dominated by fiery reds, fleshy pinks and acid yellows against the counterbalancing coolness of blues and greens. The same critical eye that she turns upon questions of cultural identity and selfhood is applied to the language of painting itself, in works that reconsider both traditional and contemporary approaches to colour and form.

Jones joined the gallery when her work was included in the group exhibition A Focus on Painting (2020), curated by Julia Peyton-Jones. She completed her BA Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art in 2013 and an MA Fine Art at the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 2019. Her work has been exhibited in the UK at institutions such as the Royal Scottish Academy and in a group exhibition alongside Gillian Ayres and Nao Matsunaga at the New Art Centre, Salisbury (2019). This was followed by her inclusion in Mixing It Up: Painting Today at the Hayward Gallery, London (2021) and a solo exhibition at the Chisenhale Gallery, London (2022). She was an artist in residence at The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, in 2019 and the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art in 2016.

Videos

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A Focus on Painting with Katy Hessel
with Katy Hessel
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Frieze Talk | Painting Today Alvaro Barrington, Mandy El-Sayegh, Rachel Jones and Dona Nelson, chaired by Julia Peyton-Jones
Alvaro Barrington, Mandy El-Sayegh, Rachel Jones and Dona Nelson, chaired by Julia Peyton-Jones

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