MoAD Announces First Solo Museum Exhibition in the United States of British Painter and Visual Artist Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones, !!!!!, 2023. Oil stick on linen, 220 (h) x 320 (w) cm., unframed. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Eva Herzog.
Art Martin Cid Magazine
Art Martin Cid Magazine

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – !!!!!’, the exhibition continues the artist’s use of mouths and teeth to symbolize encounters between Black interiority and outward expression, celebrating the artist’s gesture as its own communicative medium. Additionally, the series of new paintings will boldly add a new dimension through negative space, with raw untouched linen augmenting her phantasmic landscapes. Tickets to the exhibition are available now at moadsf.org/tickets

“Rachel Jones wields a distinct vision and we’re honored that the museum will be hosting her very first museum solo exhibition in the United States,” said Monetta White, Executive Director. “She shares our commitment to exhibit work that inspires each of us to locate the joy found within ourselves. Her work carries vast entry points that allow viewers to linger, contemplate, and settle inside her vivid, psychic landscapes.”

Born in 1991 in London, Jones completed her MA in Fine Art in 2019 at the Royal Academy Schools. In recent years she’s become internationally-renowned for her large-scale, abstract paintings featuring teeth and mouths amongst energetic color fields. Jones makes the mouth’s outline its own glyph or icon, becoming a vessel to explore Black expression and world building. For her exhibition at MoAD, Jones will take these queries a step further, adding her interests in text and the process of signification more explicitly. The show’s title, pronounced as “five exclamation points,” gestures toward the gap between symbols and what they seek to describe. This mysterious excess in between the mind and the mouth is used as painterly raw material in the artist’s vibrant works, creating worlds of new and unrestrained emotion.

“Having observed Rachel’s practice evolve over the past four years, it is an honor to collaborate with her to debut this distinctive body of work at MoAD,” said Erin Jenoa Gilbert. “I’ve witnessed her mesmerizing compositions enforce the idea that at a cellular level, the mouth is central to our comprehension of human emotion. For people throughout the African diaspora, it is a site in which decipherable and indecipherable experiences are transformed through poetic intonation and incantation. Rachel’s practice forcefully contends with the history of painting, transcending categories as her work oscillates between abstraction and figuration.”

‘!!!!!’ will feature twelve new paintings made in 2023 and 2024: six large-scale paintings on linen all titled ‘!!!!!’ accompanied by six smaller works on canvas, each titled ‘!!!!!’ . The large linen pieces frequently employ the artist’s familiar mouth and teeth motifs which take up the entire painting, aiming toward a monstrous and comical effect. For this exhibition, Looney Tunes imagery and scenes are used as references that shore up parallels between real and fictional environments. Swirling hues and deep pigments foreground or submerge the mouths, illustrating internal psychological states like angst, goofiness or slyness.

Teeth are sometimes conventionally-shaped but rendered in a comic style to spark intrigue and curiosity. The smaller paintings on canvas are more heavily layered, linked directly with the punctuating force of the exhibition’s title. Their fullness and titling signals the conceptual importance of sound, noise, and speech. Mouths, as the origin point of sound, represent the mysterious, elusive qualities of a protected inner life. Rachel Jones’ ‘!!!!!’ invites viewers to bask in these enigmatic inward journeys, where literal interpretation is left behind in favor of seeing and feeling for oneself.

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