A ‘painter’s painter,’ admired by her peers for her exceptional manual skills and seemingly limitless imagination, for thirty years now Rae has been committed to pushing the limits of what ‘serious’ painting can be. She takes enormous risks by deliberately inserting into her canvases elements of dubious artistic pedigree, adding over the years floral motifs, Day-Glo colours, sunbursts, cartoon characters, stars. Rae calls into question the expected dead-seriousness of abstract painters – morose Jackson Pollock; colourless Christopher Wool – by asking: what is, or isn’t, permissible in a ‘great’ painting? ··· “Painting is a ridiculous activity,” Rae has said, “but deeply serious at the same time … a reflection of what it’s like to be alive: a constant coming apart, a constant undoing.” Fiona Rae’s expansive, vibrant canvases seem literally to test how wide she can stretch this “coming apart,” to open a place where vision, meaning and pleasure can simultaneously take flight.
Excerpt from Fiona Rae: Full Swing
Gilda Williams ㅣ Art Critic