The exhibition will be housed in the museum’s Testaccio building, a former slaughterhouse. The centre space will be occupied by Howard’s Paintings of Violence (Why I am not a mere Christian), an installation of ten paintings and one sculpture. Created over a period of five years from 2011 – 2016, Howard continues her examination of religion, mortality and violence, specifically ‘controlled violence’, meticulously planned and calmly executed. The title is taken from two opposing polemics, Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
More of Howard’s new and recent paintings that explore pattern and the grid, are exhibited in galleries either side of the main space. These paintings explore the idiosyncratic qualities of oil paint, unpicking the accepted rules of engagement with this most traditional of mediums. In the large-scale canvases, Symptoms and Side Effects, (2016) and Wood for Trees, (2016) an interchange between background and foreground is specifically explored. She describes her aim, ‘to bring the decorative forward, to give it a life of its own, to play with pattern as perhaps reflecting a mental interior as well as a literal interior’. These paintings alongside the grid paintings explore ideas of order and entropy.
The exhibition was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Bohen Foundation. A publication on the Paintings of Violence will be published later this month. The Paintings of Violence will travel to the MASS MoCA as a solo presentation, in 2017.
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