Thaddaeus Ropac – Rachel Jones: SMIIILLLLEEEE

9 December 2021 - 5 February 2022
Rachel Jones, SMIIILLLLEEEE, 2021, Oil pastel, oil stick on canvas. 160 x 250 cm (63 x 98.4 in), © The Artist, Image Courtesy of Thaddaeus Ropac London

Rachel Jones’s new series of paintings, SMIIILLLLEEEE, will be shown in her first solo exhibition at Thaddaeus Ropac London. The artist investigates a sense of self as a visual, visceral experience, with the motifs of mouths and teeth suggesting vivid inner landscapes. Some of these new works are marked by a shift in her palette, with more muted tones and a reduction in patterning to produce quieter passages, while her flower motifs have become more prevalent.

We smile at our own illusions, eventually. Smile contains the knowledge of what happened here. Mouth-portal into a bottomless depth, adorned with cheap and happy flowers. Joy. Undone, tooth by tooth. Mouth-portal, numinous circle through which exterior becomes interior. The interior that escapes the word, escapes into a beyond black, undone into a frayed noise, a knowing static.

– Vanessa Onwuemezi, excerpt from text written on the occasion of the exhibition, 2021

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