A project that brings together at the same exhibition two artists with apparently antagonistic pictorial works. Rachel Howard is an artist with whom the gallery has been collaborating for more than ten years, while Sofia Stevi is a new addition to the Pelaires project. An established artist represented by some of the most important Anglo-Saxon galleries (mainly in London and Los Angeles) versus a young artist who represents a new understanding of painting.
Two ways of approaching the same idiom: Howard from a more reflective point of view, with detailed, conscious and monochrome paintings; and Stevi with direct, quick and powerful brushstrokes and loud colours. Howard focuses on the landscape genre from a naturalistic and romantic perspective, while Stevi prefers to delve into the human body from a quick and fresh angle. Just like Larissa Lockshin and Alain Urrutia, both artists revisit the great pictorial genres of the 20th century.
Easington, Anglaterra, 1969. Lives and works in London.
In her practice, Rachel Howard is concerned with exploring the possibilities of paint through expression and experimentation in order to evoke feelings of tension and highlight the relationship between process and outcome. Howard approaches painting in a visceral, almost performative way. As a result, her painting oscillates between abstraction and figuration, entropy and order, certainty and vulnerability. A resounding potency of colour characterises each work, however it is not precisely colour that interests her, but the state of mind and body which might be inscribed into a work through the application of the paint. Her most recent series of large and smaller scale paintings explore the idiosyncratic qualities of oil paint, unpicking the accepted rules of engagement with this most traditional of mediums.
Atenas, 1982. Lives and works in Athens.
This is the artist's first solo exhibition in Spain.
A graduate in Fine Art from Central Martin's School of Art & Design in London, Stevi produces paintings, sculptures and works on paper. Her works bring together a wide range of references, from classical mythology to images found on Instagram, literature and philosophy. Stevi's broad lines and colours describe form with a sense of playfulness and animation. Her paintings capture fleshy fruits and soft body contours with an expressiveness similar to that of cartoons. Made with Japanese ink on untreated cotton fabric, her works evoke the domestic world while also being quite erotically loaded. The torsos and limbs dissolve into psychedelic patterns and colour washings. Moving between the real and the imaginary, Stevi's works are often deeply personal and explore the artist's desires and dreams.
Selection of solo exhibitions:
-We don't have to learn something new at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London (2019).
-Turning forty winks into a new decade at BALTIC, Gateshead (England), curated by Emma Dean (2018).
-Lizzie & Laura at The Breeder Gallery, Athens (2017).
-The Equilibrist at the Benaki Museum in Athens (2016), planned by the New Museum in Nueva York and The DESTE Foundation. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Gary Carrion-Murayari and Helga Christoffersen.
She has also participated in group exhibitions at St Ann's Warehouse in New York (2018); Kevin Space in Vienna (2017); Bemaki Museum in Athens (2016); Dio Horia in Mykonos (2016) and Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2013), among others.
In 2013, Stevi co-founded the artist-run space Fokidos in Athens. She also started a poetry press project in London called Friary Road House.
Last year Pelaires Gallery included Sofia Stevi in the group exhibition Cadmium Lemon, where she displayed her work alongside nine other international artists. Represented by Pelaires since 2020, she is an example of the gallery's mission to recruit more female artists.