March 4, 2024

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Interview with Rachel Mercer: Contorted Figuration

Interview with Rachel Mercer: Contorted Figuration

Rachel Mercer has not long ago joined Increase Artwork. Rachel paints to capture the motion and steps of individuals in their dealings with house and every single other, analyzing physical and psychological connections as a result of dynamic portraits and contorted compositions.

Rachel drawing outside in close proximity to a playground.

 

How would you describe your fashion and the get the job done you produce?

I paint figures in dynamic and from time to time contorted positions, they show up captured in movement, transferring as a result of the room. The figures fulfill the entire world and each and every other and express physical and psychological connections. The paintings are in oil and typically from creativity or memory. I crank out the imagery by drawing the sites I have been, persons I have viewed together with people today I know nicely. 

My paintings are characterised by the seen brushstrokes and layering scrapped and wiped surfaces at times thin, with moments of impasto. I want each individual mark in the portray to depict how I perceive issues. I have a certain fascination in the texture of skin and clothes, and this is mirrored in the surface excellent of my artworks. Fragmented brushstrokes specific the complexities of binocular vision and the distortion of place accounts for remaining capable to see 180 degrees in our peripheral vision.

Vanish, 2021, oil on Board, 83 x 64cm

 

Convey to us a bit about the inspiration powering your exercise

It is interactions between human beings that I obtain most inspiring. Mainly because my imagery is about lived encounter and to start with-particular person observations, the primary way I find inspiration is via observational drawing.

Climbing frame examine, 2022, oil paint on paper, 90 x 76cm and a swift sketch of a baby climbing

 

How do you go about choosing the topics and scenes for your paintings?

My drawings aid me decide on a subject. Drawing no matter what catches my eye from time to time reveals matters I didn’t know about my passions. I also like to consider that when I’m drawing, I’m visually absorbing and including illustrations or photos to my psychological databases, so that when I’m back again in the studio the drawings acquire me again to the remembered expertise. Often I paint specifically from the drawings but at times, the memory of drawing is ample. I never use images since, for me, they distract from additional experiential and tactile reminiscences. When I to start with begin a painting it is more like a drawing in color, if this fails to fulfill or really feel real to me then I will paint more than the top. Overlaying photos brings in an factor of probability, often the picture reveals itself.

Amputation, 2022, oil on Board, 17 x 23cm

 

How has your apply developed in recent many years?

In the past yr I have moved absent a lot more narrative varieties of figuration. My follow now aims to embrace likelihood and openness. Probability procedures generate prospects for a larger perception of movement and rhythmic fluency inside the portray. The free brushwork signifies the figures seem somewhere amongst presence and disappearance. I now discover the approach of painting extremely liberating I am experiencing the improved relationship between impulse and painterly mark.

By yourself Yet again, 2021, oil on canvas, 90 x 70cm

 

What’s an typical working day like in your studio?

A cycle trip to the studio usually means I’m mentally and physically raring to go. I will commence with studio admin: priming, stretching or making ready surfaces. I may possibly then get the job done on a painting started the night right before, I obtain its great for regularity if I decide on-up exactly where I still left-off. If things go well, I could possibly be portray the whole day, on the other hand if factors are feeling sticky I may do some drawing. If a drawing has possible, it is an event celebrated with the commence of a new painting.

Rachel’s non permanent studio place and some works in development at Dumfries Home

 

What/Who are your essential influences?

I am specially fond of Rembrandt’s ‘A Girl Bathing In A Stream’ (Nationwide Gallery) and his ‘Self-portrait with Two Circles’ (Kenwood Residence). From the age of 13 I was in I enjoy with Rembrandt’s use of paint and texture that helps make skin and fabric glimpse alive. Gwen John’s ‘The Convalescent’ (at the Fitzwilliam Museum) was also a enormous affect on me as a scholar. I was also extremely influenced by Chinese ink painting from the Song Dynasty. Researching at the Royal Drawing School guide me to artists like Leon Kossoff, Chaïm Soutine and R.B. Kitaj who helped me see how my practice and tuition in Chinese brush portray could be utilized to figurative illustration in oil paint.

Fantastic Wall, 2019, oil on board, 102 x 76cm

 

Who are some Rise Art artists with work you’re having fun with at the second?

I have followed Robbie Bushe’s operate for a though on Instagram, I appreciate his scenes of imagined, futuristic metropolitan areas, he’s a person to purchase faster somewhat than later on! By way of Increase Art I identified the function of Kate McCrickard, her paintings are psychological and tender but also impressive with some gutsy painting, I genuinely appear forward to observing the do the job she posts future. 

Catastrophise, 2022, oil on canvas, 42 x 60cm

 

Are you presently working on any interesting new tasks?

I recently returned from a residency at Dumfries Dwelling, Scotland organised by the Royal Drawing Faculty. This two-7 days residency was a opportunity for sustained, uninterrupted painting. It was fantastic simply because I was equipped to go seamlessly amongst outside portray and studio operate. I am at the moment doing the job on a physique of paintings on the concept of little ones in playgrounds. The artist’s studio at Dumfries residence is correct upcoming to a children’s park, around lunchtime when the playground was busiest, I designed drawings of the little ones actively playing. If the playground was vacant, I created scientific studies of the playground architecture: slides, climbing frames and see-saws.