Fiona Rae has long been recognized as one of the most important artists of her generation, and since 2011 is Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy Schools, the first woman to ever be awarded this honour. In 1991 — just four years after graduation from London’s prestigious Goldsmiths art department — Rae was nominated for the UK’s most significant art award, the Turner Prize.
Fiona Rae’s uniquely beautiful, colourful pictures are admired for the way they explore every possible system of applying colour to canvas: paint is brushed, dripped, drawn, stenciled and even thrown. The prints We Are All Fuzzy Robots and Gathering All the Treasure were created specially by the artist for the Tate, and display Rae’s distinctive style and extraordinary ability to invent spectacular combinations of shape and colour. In each of these limited edition prints, the artist re-interprets one of her large paintings by reworking them using a computer into simpler, more distinct compositions. The artist isolates digitally some examples of her brushwork – such as the giant black, almost calligraphic swirls in We Are All Fuzzy Robots, or the hazy blue-grey brushstrokes in Gathering All the Treasure – creating what she calls a ‘library’ of forms, which can then be digitally manipulated. This painstaking onscreen work is then quality printed to the artist’s specifications to produce powerful, vibrant abstract artworks, each recognizably the work of this exceptional artist.
Her titles reflect the complicated, emotions generated by the images themselves, whether our contrasting feelings of soft and hard (‘fuzzy’ and ‘robot’) or a sense of art’s preciousness (‘treasure’). 2013 has been an especially important year for the Rae, with major sold-out exhibition at her noted London gallery Timothy Taylor, and a touring UK museum survey of 10 years’ work on view this summer at the Towner Museum in Eastbourne, 27 April-23 June.’I think it’s vital to forge ahead with all the energy and positivity and self-belief that one can muster’, the artist has said – a useful maxim inside a painter’s studio and, perhaps, in the world at large. Gilda Williams
Gilda Williams (b. New York) is a contemporary art critic, curator and editor. Since 2005 she has been a correspondent of Artforum in London. From 1994-2005 she was Editor and (from 1997) Commissioning Editor for Contemporary Art at Phaidon Press, where she edited 45 monographs in their Contemporary Artists series. Each book was conceived and put together as a specially curated project, working in collaboration with the artist, authors and designer to represent each artist’s practice in book format. Artists with whom she has produced books include Vito Acconci, Francis Alys, Louise Bourgeois, Maurizio Cattelan, Tacita Dean, Isa Genzken, Dan Graham, Thomas Hirschhorn, Jenny Holzer, On Kawara, Mary Kelly, Mike Kelley, Christian Marclay, Paul McCarthy, Cildo Meireles, Pipilotti Rist, Doris Salcedo, Lorna Simpson, Jeff Wall, Lawrence Weiner, Franz West, and many others. Since 1998, She has conceived and commissioned Phaidon’s “Cream” series of “Biennials-in-a book” (Cream, Fresh Cream, and Cream3). She has edited the ‘Themes and Movements’ anthologies, among them Land and Environmental Art, The Artist’s Body, Conceptual Art, Arte Povera, and Minimalism.
From 1996 she has been a regular contributor to Art Monthly magazine and a film critic for Sight and Sound 2000-2009. ‘Strange Days: Contemporary British Photography’ and ‘London Orphan Asylum’ are just two of the exhibitions that she has curated. Prior to moving to London in 1994 Gilda was Managing Editor at Flash Art International, where she worked from 1989 to 1994.