Interview with Rachel Mercer: Contorted Figuration

Rachel Mercer has not too long ago joined Rise Artwork. Rachel paints to capture the movement and steps of people in their dealings with space and each and every other, analyzing bodily and emotional connections by way of dynamic portraits and contorted compositions.

Rachel drawing outside around a playground.


How would you explain your design and style and the operate you make?

I paint figures in dynamic and from time to time contorted positions, they seem captured in movement, going via the area. The figures satisfy the globe and just about every other and express actual physical and emotional connections. The paintings are in oil and mostly from creativeness or memory. I deliver the imagery by drawing the spots I have been, men and women I’ve seen which includes people I know well. 

My paintings are characterised by the seen brushstrokes and layering scrapped and wiped surfaces often slender, with times of impasto. I want every single mark in the portray to depict how I perceive factors. I have a individual curiosity in the texture of skin and clothing, and this is reflected in the surface area high quality of my artworks. Fragmented brushstrokes specific the complexities of binocular vision and the distortion of room accounts for getting capable to see 180 degrees in our peripheral vision.

Vanish, 2021, oil on Board, 83 x 64cm


Notify us a little bit about the inspiration powering your follow

It is interactions involving humans that I obtain most inspiring. Since my imagery is about lived encounter and first-particular person observations, the main way I find inspiration is via observational drawing.

Climbing body examine, 2022, oil paint on paper, 90 x 76cm and a swift sketch of a boy or girl climbing


How do you go about picking the subjects and scenes for your paintings?

My drawings assistance me select a issue. Drawing whichever catches my eye at times reveals points I did not know about my passions. I also like to believe that when I’m drawing, I’m visually absorbing and incorporating visuals to my psychological database, so that when I’m again in the studio the drawings choose me again to the remembered knowledge. Sometimes I paint right from the drawings but occasionally, the memory of drawing is more than enough. I really don’t use photographs simply because, for me, they distract from more experiential and tactile reminiscences. When I very first start a painting it is much more like a drawing in color, if this fails to satisfy or truly feel legitimate to me then I will paint about the best. Overlaying images provides in an element of chance, often the impression reveals itself.

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


How has your observe evolved in current years?

In the previous year I have moved away much more narrative sorts of figuration. My observe now aims to embrace possibility and openness. Chance methods make chances for a better perception of movement and rhythmic fluency within the portray. The unfastened brushwork signifies the figures show up somewhere between existence and disappearance. I now come across the course of action of painting extremely freeing I am making the most of the amplified connection among impulse and painterly mark.

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


What is an ordinary day like in your studio?

A cycle experience to the studio indicates I’m mentally and physically raring to go. I will start off with studio admin: priming, stretching or getting ready surfaces. I may perhaps then function on a portray begun the night in advance of, I discover its fantastic for consistency if I pick-up wherever I left-off. If matters go very well, I may well be portray the entire working day, nonetheless if issues are emotion sticky I could do some drawing. If a drawing has opportunity, it is an situation celebrated with the start of a new painting.

Rachel’s short term studio house and some is effective in progress at Dumfries Dwelling


What/Who are your essential influences?

I am specially fond of Rembrandt’s ‘A Female Bathing In A Stream’ (Nationwide Gallery) and his ‘Self-portrait with Two Circles’ (Kenwood Household). From the age of 13 I was in I appreciate with Rembrandt’s use of paint and texture that helps make skin and fabric look alive. Gwen John’s ‘The Convalescent’ (at the Fitzwilliam Museum) was also a huge impact on me as a student. I was also very motivated by Chinese ink portray from the Music Dynasty. Studying at the Royal Drawing Faculty guide me to artists like Leon Kossoff, Chaïm Soutine and R.B. Kitaj who served me see how my apply and tuition in Chinese brush painting could be utilized to figurative representation in oil paint.

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


Who are some Rise Artwork artists with get the job done you happen to be savoring at the instant?

I’ve followed Robbie Bushe’s perform for a while on Instagram, I love his scenes of imagined, futuristic towns, he’s one to acquire sooner somewhat than later! Via Increase Art I found out the work of Kate McCrickard, her paintings are psychological and tender but also effective with some gutsy portray, I actually seem ahead to seeing the work she posts subsequent. 

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


Are you now doing work on any fascinating new tasks?

I not too long ago returned from a residency at Dumfries Household, Scotland organised by the Royal Drawing Faculty. This two-week residency was a opportunity for sustained, uninterrupted painting. It was exceptional since I was equipped to shift seamlessly in between outdoor painting and studio do the job. I am at the moment functioning on a human body of paintings on the topic of children in playgrounds. The artist’s studio at Dumfries household is appropriate subsequent to a children’s park, all around lunchtime when the playground was busiest, I created drawings of the little ones participating in. If the playground was vacant, I produced research of the playground architecture: slides, climbing frames and see-saws.

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