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Birdhouse
1997
Oil and acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 243.8 x 213.4 cm
Reference: ACF0687
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Fiona Rae's painting follows a work procedure through which, on an apparently uniform surface, either black grounds or grounds with motifs that make them uniform in a way, geometrical forms, concentric discs -as in this painting- or rectangular figures are superimposed, appearing to float on the surface of the picture and contrasting with the broad repertoire of pictorial gestures which are so much a part of her art. Her brushstrokes, sometimes movements of broad brushes and sometimes simple touches, combine a pictorial language which contrasts clearly with the geometry of the circular forms that fluctuate in this painting, which was done in 1997. For Rae painting is an integrating factor in culture, which has to be a noisy, contradictory, chaotic place, where things depend on what is alongside them. In this accumulation of registers in her work, we also find references to the history of painting -Bosch, Joan Miró or the tradition of American Abstract Expressionism in its full range of nuances- and to interests which spring from other spheres of modern culture, such as the cinema and in particular Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. She was particularly interested in the film for the way in which it brings film genres together and makes something totally fresh, exciting and amusing from them. She compares that procedure with the making of a painting, since for her it emerges from a process of editing, shaping, adjusting and cutting so that a fragment eventually appears as the essence of everything we want to convey. The result of her work contrasts expressive and non-expressive elements as a way of finding a particular balance between certain Expressionist and Minimalist reminiscences which are to be found there. She prefers to combine different kinds of language within the frame of her painting, the result being a confrontation between a “hot” and a “cold” abstraction. From that battle the meaning of her work emerges, as she herself admits. However, beneath the appearance of a painting based on the outstanding discoveries of the pictorial tradition of the twentieth century there is an underlying task of preparation which uses digital techniques to construct new forms, to select colour ranges, to decide their final location in the pictorial space, etc. And so the final result of her paintings has echoes which are close to that virtual reality now provided by computer technology.

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