The itinerary was pretty well planned for my long weekend in London; I arrived at Kings Cross at about 3 pm on Friday and was greeted by our lovely Sarah.
We went straight to Timothy Taylor Gallery in Mayfair http://www.timothytaylorgallery.com to see the Fiona Rae paintings. These paintings are lighter, more delicate than those of the last show, which I saw when it toured to Leeds. (Maybe you can live on the moon in the next century, Leeds City Art Gallery, 2012).
There are indeed "multifarious and interwoven techniques, patterns and passages", to quote the accompanying introduction provided by the gallery. Rae is an iconoclast of painting, I understand her deliberate use of popular culture from China, her allusions to diagrammatic symbolism and graphic signs and appreciate her use of more playful materials like glitter and spray paint; for the fun of it. I recognise the references to Chinese landscape from my own visit there last year. These large paintings seem to me more like joyous samplers of painting possibilities, with no real resolution. Rae herself says,
"With these pandas as mascots, amulets, protagonists, victims, observers, or whatever their role in each painting might be. I can make a painting that has an angle or an eye on itself, while simultaneously being a full-blooded, full-on manifestation of painterly possibility."
I found the colour in this recent work less satisfying; some of them were a little nauseous for my taste but on reflection, the whole show is lighter, more delicate than the last. Rae's techniques and explorations of popular culture strongly refer to today's culture, bombarded as it is by imagery and references to the multicultural world we now live in. I think Rae is challenging the viewer to find their own way through the paintings, to work out a personal meaning or to simply enjoy the challenge of looking at them. I am fascinated by her work and will continue to follow it with interest.
The gallery space itself is fantastic; large, white and spacious, it is well lit and provides a wonderful environment in which to contemplate and consider the art on display. I am a fan of the white cube, especially where paintings are concerned.
End of the day, from Sarah's flat