Chisenhale Gallery is pleased to present, say cheeeeese, a new commission by artist Rachel Jones and her first solo exhibition in an institution. Working with painting, installation and performance, Jones’ work examines ways of expressing that which can be seen and sensed rather than uttered. Jones’ oil pastel on canvas and paper works often repeat symbols, colours and textures, creating associative, even familial relationships between works varying in scale, from the monumental to the hand-held and jewel-like.
For her Chisenhale Gallery commission, Jones develops her chosen materials of oil pastels and oil sticks to produce a new body of paintings on canvas and paper. Making architectural adaptations to the gallery, Jones’ exhibition creates new sightlines by using freestanding walls and by revealing all six of Chisenhale Gallery’s windows to allow daylight in, exposed in full for the first time since the 1980s. Additionally, Jones has produced a series of stickers for the inner gallery walls and exterior doors.
say cheeeeese builds on Jones’ previous work, repeating the motif of obscured teeth and the orifices that contain them. Only partially legible, these forms signal a multitude of symbolic and literal entry points to the interior self. Jones’ new works extend the use of this now familiar motif to incorporate bold, hand-drawn lines over dense blocks of colour. The shapes, marks and tones used by Jones in her new commission often clash and overlay, or sit uncomfortably side-by-side, creating differing perspectives. say cheeeeese invites the viewer to contemplate what emotional responses are assigned to a colour or a form, for example, to reconsider yellow’s association with happiness, and in doing so, to explore the possibility of myriad expressions that coexist simultaneously.
As part of the commissioning process, Chisenhale Gallery has produced an accompanying publication say cheeeeese, with support from Thaddaeus Ropac and in collaboration with Hurtwood. This unique publication, the artist’s first, features works by Jones and a new photo essay by the artist, alongside newly commissioned essays and contributions by poet and artist Anaïs Duplan; Chisenhale Gallery Senior Curator, Ellen Greig; curator and researcher Aïcha Mehrez; and poet, essayist, playwright, and MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine; with a foreword by Chisenhale Gallery Director, Zoé Whitley. Jones’ publication is the inaugural project of our new publishing strand, Chisenhale Press.
A bespoke series of talks and events are programmed in collaboration with each artist and run throughout the duration of every exhibition. Jones’ exhibition commences Chisenhale Gallery’s Commissions Programme for 2022, which comprises three new exhibitions by artists Rachel Jones, Nikita Gale and Ayo Akingbade, and a new commission by the vacuum cleaner (James Leadbitter), which is produced in collaboration with curator and artist Caroline Moore, young people and the NHS staff at The Coborn Centre for Adolescent Mental Health at Newham Centre for Mental Health, London.