Rachel Cousins

MA Fine Art Interim Show

Contact student

NB. Views and opinions of students in the degree show are their own and do not represent the views of the University.


By way of Flemish Verdure Tapestries, Ffiona Lewis and Rembrandt’s Chiaroscuro portraits I have arrived at my latest paintings concerned with the garden. Beginning with the blank canvas with its limiting borders of shape and size I apply acrylic paint heavily diluted with water in spontaneous marks, arcs, verticals, horizontals. These are further diluted with water washing away and down the canvas to blend with one another and make new colours, more water is added to encourage bleeds of one colour into another, using capillary action and gravity along with the erosive power of the water on thickly applied strokes of paint to make trails, swirls, shapes which lend themselves to the imagination to be fashioned into trees or flowers in much the same way as when we lay in the garden on a summers day and make images out of the clouds. The garden has this depth of mysteriousness to it, knowable and unknowable, metaphor-reality, marvel wonder often encased in the most banal of plants. When we slow down to see it does not disappoint in its ability to gift us with endless treasures; “Consider the lilies of the field”, Jesus said. For all they have to offer, I never tire of looking, pondering their secrets, seeking to capture their intricacies and the dynamics of their relationships. Painting provides endless ways of thinking through translating the three-dimensional reality to a two-dimensional plane, my work is a series of experiments considering abstraction vs realism, colour, relationship between foreground and background, light and dark. Like a good gardener utilising chance along with artifice, working with the substances in my hands rather than seeking only to impose my will. Hoping to capture the beauty of the garden without the image and my technical ability being overwhelmed by its complexity.