Rachel Goodyear: A Tethered Swarm

27 April - 26 May 2012 Main Space

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery is delighted to present Rachel Goodyear’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, A Tethered Swarm, from 27 April to 26 May 2012. The absurd, microcosmic and anthropomorphic worlds of Goodyear's drawn figures multiply and evolve in this ambitious new body of work, comprising drawings on a larger scale, sculptural pieces and animations.


Through repetition, looser lines and an engagement with the plane and the objecthood of the paper, Goodyear draws the viewer’s attention to the abstractness of the narrative space for which she is known. Her new body of work creates ambiguous scenarios, where uncanny figurative elements appear to both produce and emerge from her abstract compositions.


Across series of sheets of paper, a multiplied and differentiated figure is frequently embedded within webs of connecting lines. Red threads, and streams of organic, anonymous forms sweep across the pages, engaging the figures in a surreal set of ‘games’. In Truants, a finely tangled red net stretches over three pages, ensnaring a group of identically dressed women. Caught mid-flight, like creatures of the air, they seem to have become one with the inescapable tangle, which appears to have been set up by another unseen presence.


A humming in the ears brings together ceramic, paper and graphite. Laser cut paper shapes, originating in drawings made from inkblots, swarm around a figure’s head, or are an extension or growth from within her. Upon closer inspection, the figure’s features are vague, like a light sketch, but visible enough to see that her ears are bleeding from the sound we are invited to imagine as she stands in her glass dome.


Small faces appear amongst the details, echoing the playful nature of the animated Dancing devils. In Blossom, the season suggests that two bears have just emerged from hibernation, only to be greeted with the torment of shape-shifting blossom. Curling up into more comfortable positions captures vivid visions of figures and animals, fleeting hallucinations that are delicately caught on the surface of mushrooms in their moment of sporing. Cordyceps suggests something a little more dark and malevolent, the title itself referring to a particular type of fungus that alters the mind of its host before fruiting in a violent and terminal way. 


Goodyear has recently exhibited at the ICA, London; Tate Liverpool; The Drawing Room, London; Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden; Collective Gallery, Edinburgh; Contemporary Art Society, London; Cornerhouse, Manchester; ME Collectors Room, Berlin; Leeds City Art Gallery, and Neue Galerie, Innsbruck. She had a solo exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, in Autumn 2011, and will be showing a selection of works in Drawing Stories, at Museum Folkwang, Essen, from 19 May to 15 July 2012.  Her work is represented in Collections including the Olbricht Collection, Essen; Progressive Art Collection, Ohio; West Collection, Pennsylvania; Colecção Madeira Corporate Services; Olbricht Collection, Berlin, and Victoria & Albert Museum, London.