Rachel Levitas – Paintings – Inaugural exhibition opening at no format next week – South East London’s newest contemporary visual arts gallery
An exhibition of paintings by Lewisham based artists Rachel Levitas is the inaugural opening for no format - South East London’s newest contemporary visual arts gallery, based at the Second Floor Studios & Arts project – London.
This exhibition of the work by artist Rachel Levitas spans four years from 2007-11; this period of seismic re-alignment in the political and economic landscape is mirrored in the completion of a ten year body of work, the emergence of new subjects and stylistic change.
The late paintings from the Tulip Mania series are prophetic works which pre-date the financial crisis. They compare excessive consumerism and reckless speculative indulgence with the craze for tulip bulbs in 17th century Holland. The Burning Books paintings included in the exhibition examine the rise of fundamentalism, the futility of trying to destroy knowledge and presage a violent conclusion to the pre-bust era. These contemporary history paintings were produced over many months, even years; the surface frequently reworked by redrawing, the marks becoming part of the painting’s patina.
The party comes to an abrupt end in 2010 with the first of the Urban Fox series as these bold and beautiful opportunists slink into streets deserted by bankrupt revellers. By contrast these images are rapidly made, wet in wet, using techniques that record fleeting night visits. The foxes represent the rise of forces previously suppressed moving into the space left by a collapsing economy; creativity emerging and adapting and perhaps too something darker, fear of the future.
Rachel Levitas grew up in Durham. She studied Fine Art at Camberwell School of Art, Advanced Printmaking at Central St Martins and Postgraduate Painting at the Royal Academy Schools where she was awarded the Turner Gold Medal for Painting. Recently Rachel has been awarded first prize at the prestigious Lynne Painter-Stainers for her painting Urban Fox III.