14 May 2020

INSIDE THE STUDIO with Rachel Duckhouse

Zoë Foster

INSIDE THE STUDIO with Rachel Duckhouse

An exclusive glimpse inside the studio flat of Rachel Duckhouse.

This week, Glasgow-based artist Rachel Duckhouse shares images of her ‘Eriskay series (working title)’ geometric drawings, a new body of work that she has been working on in her flat while in isolation.

Rachel Duckhouse works primarily in geometric drawing and printmaking. Her research based projects first begin with sketchbook drawings. These subsequently often culminate in process led experiments in the print workshop. With the current situation, she now has to focus entirely on drawing, as she can no longer access her studio or the print workshop.

The Eriskay series

This new series of geometric drawings is based on sheep fanks on the Scottish Island of Eriskay. The artist first came across these structures on walks on the island while there for a RSA (Royal Scottish Academy) Residency. What then immediately struck Rachel was the striking concrete shapes in the natural environment, originally made by crofters to put their sheep in, but now seeming almost more like sci-fi monoliths. The structures are to her like contemporary pyramids, relating to puzzles and mazes of the past.

geometric abstraction environmental
Eriskay series (working title)‘, 2020, pen and ink on paper, image size 24 x 20 cm

The drawing of repeated shapes or lines and the themes of repetition, layering, architectural structure and patterning drives Rachel’s work. As her practice has developed, these themes have evolved into the starting point for several research based projects. These have explored patterns, structures and repeated rhythms and flows found in all sorts of contexts, including architecture, landscape, the flow of water and biological systems.

In between her research based projects, Rachel has continued to develop series of intuitively drawn pen and ink works. These are loosely informed by her wider research based practice but driven more by instinct than research. 

The Corallinae series

Shown below is an earlier drawing, ‘Capillacea‘ from the ‘Corallinae series‘. This series of hand coloured pen and ink drawings began before Rachel’s first research based project in 2012. The ‘Corallinae series’ are intuitive, process led, studio based drawings, derived from a set of rules loosely followed. 
Abstract geometrical drawing
Capillacea (from the Corallinae series)’, 2017, Hand coloured pen and ink drawing, 37 x 37 cm

The ‘Corallinae series‘ consists of 5 drawings in total, all united by their portrayal of floating layers. ‘Corallinae‘, another work from the same series, is in the collection of the British Museum. It was exhibited in their recent exhibition ‘Pushing Paper: Contemporary drawing from 1970 to now‘ showcasing contemporary drawing from their collection, installed next to a Sol Le Witt drawing. This BM touring exhibition will also open at The Pier Art Centre, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Cooper Gallery later this year and next, following the British Museum show.