Fiona Rae, My Heart is full of Joy, 2008
Over the last 30 years Fiona Rae has developed a distinctive body of work, full of restless energy, humour and complexity, which has set out to challenge and expand the modern conventions of painting. Fonts, signs and symbols drawn from contemporary design and typography have appeared in her paintings, whilst abstract marks and spontaneous gestures worry at the autonomy, legibility and function of these graphic shapes, debating a new synthesis of painterly languages. In 2004, when Rae visited Tokyo and reconnected with visual aspects of her peripatetic childhood in Asia, her lexicon further broadened to include small figures or cartoons whose status is left intriguingly ambiguous. Like Caspar David Friedrich’s human presences in an overwhelming landscape, they serve to point up the metaphysical and artificial dimensions of abstract painting, whilst also providing an empathetic point of identification for the viewer that invokes a more personal reading.
Born in Hong Kong in 1963, Rae completed a BA Hons Fine Art degree at Goldsmiths College in 1987. The following year, she participated in Damien Hirst’s Freeze in London’s Docklands, and within four years of graduating, she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, Tate Gallery, 1991. Rae has exhibited extensively in museums and galleries internationally and her work is held in prestigious public and private collections worldwide.
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