Timothy Taylor Gallery – ‘Fiona Rae’ (22nd April – 30th May 2015)
The gallery is currently showing both paintings and drawings from Fiona Rae's recent (2014-2015) greyscale work. Usually I find myself drawn to colour and often finding myself viewing works like these due to Kayla's persuasion (and love of monochrome palettes). Initially I recognized the Fiona Rae's name from past research at university so the lure of seeing those vibrant paintings in greyscale was too enticing.
I must mention the drawings shown before I get carried away talking about the paintings. But personally those smaller charcoal drawings just didn't do anything for me. Displayed in a room off from the main gallery I understand this space was too small to carry any of the canvas works but i just felt these small drawings were a distraction. Normally a fan of intricate mark-making I felt that the essence of the marks, the feeling of chaos, motion, frenzy? was not captured as successfully in these pieces compared to the much larger more imposing paintings.
I think it took all of two minutes for me to fall in love with the paintings. Normally an avid fan of colour I was surprised to find how much I really enjoyed this monochrome palette. The series of paintings hung around the room gradually changing tone. Kayla and I chose to start at the lightest work and move around the room to finish at the darkest toned painting.
This graduated effect though subtle at first keeps you moving around the space and keeps you engaged with more than one painting at once. Often I found myself comparing the tones of one painting to it's neighbors, some of the lighter greys and whites appeared very soft and almost fluffy on the canvas, but the same marks appeared harsh and solid on a painting with a darker background.
The shifting grey tones and large gestural motions of paint marks gave each canvas it's own energy. With Rae's paintings I always feel there is a very considered approach to the composition, it is no accident that each captured moment on that canvas holds stays in frame. Those marks are carefully planned to draw the viewers eye around and yet at the same time those marks are erratic are fleeting and while some feel hasty and quick, others felt gentle and carefully made. The energy of those marks on a surface cause that feeling of motion and the forms feel organic, giving viewers that urge to associate with nature, flowers, insects in an attempt to decipher the abstract marks.
Much like Kayla I recommend visiting this show with a friend as it really does add to the experience of wanting to discover more on the surface of each painting.