A solo exhibition of Rachel Howard’s newest work is on display at Blain|Southern, London until 17 March 2018. Der Kuss (The Kiss) features paintings and sculptures which focus on intimacy and violence: closeness as a point of both destruction and fortification. The exhibition looks at the process whereby insignificant or instantaneous occurrences can build into violence or love, and at the transition from action to memory.
A kiss builds a delicate bond which breaks upon betrayal. An intimate moment can act as a gateway to internal and external strength, and also to “the violence of the mind and the body”. presents an exhibition of Rachel Howard’s newest paintings and sculptures, focussing on internal and external violence, the violence of the mind and the body. The title Der Kuss, the kiss, suggests a delicate point of intimate contact, of love or betrayal.
In the first of two rooms, lines and grid structures are layered with kitsch plastic flowers cast in bronze and crashed planes. The overall effect is one of delicate balance between structure and collapse. The flowers in her new sculpture series Not the last (RSM) #1-7 have been dipped into acrylic medium and hung upside down to drip dry; the curvature of the fragile forms has then been immobilised in bronze. The second room features paintings from Howard’s On Violence series, which reference Hannah Arendt’s book of the same name. The production of the works was a very active process; paint was moved around the canvas with bundles of fabric and applied in varying intensities in a process which doubled as a reflection on violence and power.
Rachel Howard is currently presenting two other solo exhibitions besides Der Kuss; Repetition Is Truth: Via Dolorosa is on show at Newport Street Gallery, London until 28 May, while Paintings of Violence (Why I Am Not a Mere Christian) runs at The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) until February 2019.