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
Exploring the role of language in engaging with images, the exhibition will also include site-specific text and sticker elements. Painted on a wall in the gallery and surrounded by her paintings, the song title ‘SON SHINE’ becomes a prompt to think about the works and the words in a new light, as does the exhibition’s title. Vinyl stickers will be applied to the floor in dialogue with the paintings they reproduce, with the shifts in scale, materiality and viewing experience complicating the reading of these images.
Jones’s work is on view in Mixing It Up: Painting Today at the Hayward Gallery, London, until 12 December, and will be the subject of a solo exhibition opening at the Chisenhale Gallery, London, in March 2022. She was previously included in the group exhibition A Focus on Painting at Thaddaeus Ropac in 2020. Jones completed her BA Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art in 2013 and an MA Fine Art at the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 2019. Her work has been exhibited in the UK at institutions such as the Royal Scottish Academy. She was an artist in residence at The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, in 2019 and the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art in 2016.