Known predominantly as a painter, Rachel Howard is also a prolific photographer. Traces of the artist’s explorations with her SLR camera can be seen in her drawings. With Black Dog, Howard reverses the roles usually played by the two media. Absorbing light and focusing the gaze at the centre of the image, the dog in this photographic work echoes the form and character of the canine figure that recurs in her drawings. Itself a derivation of the drawings, the photograph explores the historic mutual bind between human and dog. The form of the dog evokes historic associations with companionship, protection and loyalty before returning to an abstract blur. Like the image itself, the work’s title also creates a malleable connection between abstraction and narrative; the ‘Black Dog’ references the name Winston Churchill gave to his depression as well as describing the simple concept of the dog that the form evokes.
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