Gallery  April 19, 2024  Carlota Gamboa

Rachel Jones’ Abstract Psychic Landscape of Teeth and Color

Photo by Chloe Jackman. Courtesy of MoAD.

Image of Rachel Jones' Exhibition '!!!!!' by Chloe Jackman. Courtesy of MoAD.

Whether it be through the image of a mouth or the emotional resonance of color, British visual artist, Rachel Jones, wades into symbolism with her latest body of work. Though her practice also involves installation and sound performance, oil paintings are the focus of !!!!!, Jones’ solo exhibition debut in the United States. The show runs through September 1st at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco and displays 12 of Jones’ pieces made between 2023 and 2024.

Steadily, Jones has been gaining international attention. Institutions like the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Tate London have begun acquiring the young artist’s work. Jones tackles existential questions through the visceral nature of her scenes, creating ruptures in quotidian figures— like Looney Tunes characters— by leaning into abstract impulses

© MoAD. Photograph by Eva Herzog.

Rachel Jones, !!!!!, 2023. Oil stick on linen, 220 (h) x 320 (w) cm., unframed. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Eva Herzog.

The six larger pieces in the show are rendered on linen and feature her signature motif of teeth, often taking up large swaths of the canvas with cartoonish shapes and proportions. Jones’ use of repetitive imagery serves as a way to build her landscape of associative meaning. The cumulative process of examining new interpretations of the same subject creates dynamic relationships across her work. The six smaller paintings are thickly layered, calling back to the theme of the exhibition's title. All 12 paintings are also entitled “!!!!!”, a gesture towards the various interpretations of symbols and what their respective meanings seek to describe— similar to the opacity of a painting’s layers. 

“Having observed Rachel’s practice evolve over the past four years, it is an honor to collaborate with her to debut this distinctive body of work at MoAD,” says exhibition curator Erin Jenoa Gilbert, “Rachel’s practice forcefully contends with the history of painting, transcending categories as her work oscillates between abstraction and figuration.” Jones’ use of color and shape playfully examines the inner states of being, from angst and discord to humor and joy, illuminating the wide range of emotions that can occur simultaneously.

37.786189561586, -122.40150861653

Rachel Jones' Exhibition, !!!!!
Start Date:
March 27, 2024
End Date:
September 1, 2024
Museum of the African Diaspora
About the Author

Carlota Gamboa

Carlota Gamboa is an art writer based in Los Angeles.

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