Fiona Rae’s Special Fear

Fiona Rae, “Bold as a wild strawberry, sweet as a naughty girl,” 2009, oil and acrylic on canvas, 72″ x 59″
Fiona Rae, “It gets angry or laughs SUDDENLY!!,” 2008, oil, acrylic and photograph on canvas, 60″ x 50″

Fiona Rae, “Continued unmeasured endless despair, however alive,” 2009, oil and acrylic on canvas, 60″ x 50″

Fiona Rae, “Slow Mother Gathering,” 2009, oil, acrylic and gouache on canvas, 60″ x 50″

Fiona Rae,” Maybe you can live on the moon in the next century,” 2009, oil and acrylic on canvas, 72″ x 59″

Here’s a 2008 Tate video of Rae in her studio discussing her palette, brushes, source materials, and process. “For me,” she declares, “painting is completely alive and kicking.”
In “Special Fear!” Fiona Rae’s  current exhibition at Pace, she continues to combine divergent stylistic elements and dissonant sources within each canvas. The exuberant buoyancy of her 2006 show has been replaced by a darker, gloomier palette and cropped landscape-like spaces. Marc Glimcher, who wrote the catalog essay, warns that the images are not easily analyzed in terms of their meaning. “The disparate elements can be analyzed for their stylistic origins, but they are finally just resonant images and forms which allow the artist to construct a painting. In spite of critics� efforts to reduce the inhabitants of Rae�s painting to a semiotic flashcard nothing could be further from the native experience of making the painting or the experience of viewing it.”  

Fiona Rae: Special Fear!” Pace, New York, NY. Through May 1, 2010.


  1. Thanks for featuring these works! I almost find them more appealing because of their creative titles. "Continued unmeasured endless despair, however alive," certainly adds a different flavor than if she'd gone with "Mixed Media Flowers". Makes you really think about the role of a title in a visual piece.

  2. The meaning seems fairly clear to me. They're about draining, melting away, losing energy, succumbing to gravity.

    It's a kind of mid-life crisis I guess.

  3. Fiona�s abstract expressionism style includes graphic, symbols and child like cartoonish designs. Her paintings composition is suggestive of different things, and certainly evokes different feelings and emotions in the viewer.

  4. I found this to be a great display of plenty of Fiona's work along with a very inspiring video which really portrays where she gets here ideas from and how she goes about coming to her conclusions. Very impressive collection of brushes she's got. A very british accent she's got too. Reminds me much of when I was last in London, exploring a few fine galleries. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for Fiona next time.

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