Interview with Rachel Mercer: Contorted Figuration

Rachel Mercer has lately joined Rise Artwork. Rachel paints to seize the motion and actions of men and women in their dealings with room and every other, analyzing physical and emotional connections by dynamic portraits and contorted compositions.

Rachel drawing outside in close proximity to a playground.


How would you explain your style and the do the job you develop?

I paint figures in dynamic and from time to time contorted positions, they surface captured in motion, transferring by means of the space. The figures meet up with the earth and each individual other and categorical actual physical and emotional connections. The paintings are in oil and typically from creativity or memory. I crank out the imagery by drawing the places I have been, folks I’ve witnessed including folks I know well. 

My paintings are characterised by the visible brushstrokes and layering scrapped and wiped surfaces in some cases slender, with moments of impasto. I want each individual mark in the painting to represent how I perceive issues. I have a individual desire in the texture of skin and clothes, and this is reflected in the surface area quality of my artworks. Fragmented brushstrokes specific the complexities of binocular eyesight and the distortion of area accounts for being equipped to see 180 degrees in our peripheral eyesight.

Vanish, 2021, oil on Board, 83 x 64cm


Convey to us a little bit about the inspiration driving your follow

It is interactions concerning individuals that I locate most inspiring. Since my imagery is about lived knowledge and initial-individual observations, the most important way I uncover inspiration is by way of observational drawing.

Climbing frame research, 2022, oil paint on paper, 90 x 76cm and a brief sketch of a kid climbing


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

My drawings assistance me select a topic. Drawing whatsoever catches my eye in some cases reveals points I didn’t know about my pursuits. I also like to feel that when I’m drawing, I’m visually absorbing and including illustrations or photos to my mental database, so that when I’m back again in the studio the drawings choose me back again to the remembered practical experience. From time to time I paint specifically from the drawings but from time to time, the memory of drawing is enough. I never use photographs since, for me, they distract from more experiential and tactile recollections. When I very first start out a portray it’s far more like a drawing in colour, if this fails to fulfill or truly feel accurate to me then I will paint over the top rated. Overlaying photographs provides in an component of chance, sometimes the graphic reveals by itself.

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


How has your exercise evolved in the latest a long time?

In the final year I have moved away much more narrative types of figuration. My follow now aims to embrace opportunity and openness. Chance solutions deliver possibilities for a better perception of movement and rhythmic fluency in the portray. The loose brushwork means the figures show up somewhere involving presence and disappearance. I now find the system of portray extremely liberating I am having fun with the elevated relationship among impulse and painterly mark.

On your own All over again, 2021, oil on canvas, 90 x 70cm


What is an typical day like in your studio?

A cycle experience to the studio usually means I’m mentally and bodily raring to go. I will start out with studio admin: priming, stretching or getting ready surfaces. I may well then get the job done on a portray started off the evening just before, I obtain its good for regularity if I decide-up in which I left-off. If points go effectively, I might be portray the complete day, nonetheless if things are sensation sticky I may possibly do some drawing. If a drawing has possible, it is an event celebrated with the start off of a new portray.

Rachel’s non permanent studio place and some works in development at Dumfries House


What/Who are your critical influences?

I am especially fond of Rembrandt’s ‘A Woman Bathing In A Stream’ (Nationwide Gallery) and his ‘Self-portrait with Two Circles’ (Kenwood Property). From the age of 13 I was in I enjoy with Rembrandt’s use of paint and texture that can make skin and fabric glimpse alive. Gwen John’s ‘The Convalescent’ (at the Fitzwilliam Museum) was also a huge influence on me as a pupil. I was also pretty affected by Chinese ink painting from the Track Dynasty. Learning at the Royal Drawing University direct me to artists like Leon Kossoff, Chaïm Soutine and R.B. Kitaj who served me see how my follow and tuition in Chinese brush painting could be applied to figurative illustration in oil paint.

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


Who are some Increase Art artists with operate you’re making the most of at the minute?

I’ve followed Robbie Bushe’s function for a when on Instagram, I really like his scenes of imagined, futuristic metropolitan areas, he’s one particular to get faster alternatively than afterwards! By means of Increase Artwork I uncovered the perform of Kate McCrickard, her paintings are emotional and tender but also highly effective with some gutsy painting, I truly glance forward to seeing the do the job she posts future. 

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


Are you presently doing the job on any interesting new jobs?

I not long ago returned from a residency at Dumfries Residence, Scotland organised by the Royal Drawing College. This two-week residency was a possibility for sustained, uninterrupted painting. It was fantastic mainly because I was ready to go seamlessly amongst outside portray and studio do the job. I am at present working on a body of paintings on the concept of small children in playgrounds. The artist’s studio at Dumfries household is proper subsequent to a children’s park, all around lunchtime when the playground was busiest, I made drawings of the little ones playing. If the playground was empty, I designed experiments of the playground architecture: slides, climbing frames and see-saws.

Leave a Reply