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Rachel Jones: SMIIILLLLEEEE review

  • Art
  • Thaddaeus Ropac, Mayfair
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
SMIIILLLEEE, 2021, Rachel Jones, Photo: Eva Herzog

Time Out Says

4 out of 5 stars

Sometimes with a painting, the eyes follow you around the room. But in Rachel Jones’ new show, it’s the teeth. Grinning out of every wall is a set of gnashers, twisted and pushed to a visual extreme, smiling menacingly at you wherever you go.

They’re abstracted, but the shapes are all there: canines and molars in pinks and reds and yellows, triangular and cubic menhirs that grin and grimace. She paints them all with soft but frantic marks, striated coloured lines that mix and overlap. The best work is a long rectangular strip of teeth hung low, making the whole wall into a face bearing its teeth.

Upstairs, things get even more abstracted, you start seeing lips and tongues and uvulas in the canvases. It’s all visceral, gross, bodily stuff, the mouth as the real window to the soul, and it’s great. The words 'son' and 'shine' are plastered across one wall, and you get the sense that these works are about exploring performative positivity – the idea of the fake smile – like all these super bright canvases are just about tolerating some terrible anecdote you're telling them.

It's a winning combo: Rachel Jones has gorgeous paint handling, a unique aesthetic, and clever ideas. It’s enough to bring a smile to your face.

Written by
Eddy Frankel


Thaddaeus Ropac
Ely House
37 Dover Street

Dates And Times

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