Created over a period of five years from 2011–2016, Howard continues her examination of religion, mortality and violence, specifically ‘controlled violence’, meticulously planned and calmly executed. The title is taken from two opposing polemics, Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Howard describes the body of work as ‘…not about a bacchanalian violence, but the steady calm hand of violence on a greater scale. Maximum damage, planned and calmly carried out; hence the slow slice through the alizarin crimson oil paint, exposing the fluorescent beneath, raw and defenceless, the repetition of canvas after canvas, the same but different.’ She refers to the acts of violence planned on a scale that overwhelms; these acts of terror, these threats to the stability of everyday life, have something in common. They are different but also, in many ways, the same.
The publication follows an exhibition of the work at the MACRO in Rome and precedes a major presentation in the US at MASS MOCA next year. It includes an introduction by Thomas Krens, Director Emeritus of the Guggenheim Foundation who says of the work: 'Violence and the banality of evil come across in a tightly controlled frame that is essential to the success of each painting. Rachel Howard's 'Paintings of Violence' may be her best work yet.'
Also included are essays by Louisa Elderton and Will Self, alongside full colour plates and installation images of the works in the artist's studio.
signed by artist