artist / participant
March 12–June 12, 2022
Chisenhale Gallery is pleased to present say cheeeeese, a new commission by artist Rachel Jones and her first solo exhibition in an institution. Working with painting, installation and performance, Jones’ work examines ways of expressing that which can be seen and sensed rather than uttered. Jones’ oil pastel on canvas and paper works often repeat symbols, colours and textures, creating associative, even familial relationships between works varying in scale from the monumental to the hand-held and jewel-like. For her Chisenhale Gallery commission, Jones develops her chosen materials of oil pastels and oil sticks to produce a new body of paintings on canvas and paper. Making architectural adaptations to the gallery, Jones’ exhibition creates new sightlines by the use of freestanding walls and by revealing all six of Chisenhale Gallery’s windows to allow daylight in, exposed in full for the first time since the 1980s. Additionally, Jones has produced a large-scale sticker on the exterior doors of the building, which welcomes passers-by and signals the importance of found imagery and music in her practice.
say cheeeeese builds on Jones’ previous work, repeating the motif of obscured teeth and the orifices that contain them. Only partially legible, these forms signal both a multitude of symbolic and literal entry points to the interior self. Jones’ new works extend the use of this now-familiar motif to incorporate bold, hand-drawn lines over dense blocks of colour. The shapes, marks and tones used by Jones in her new commission often clash and overlay, or sit uncomfortably side-by-side, creating differing perspectives. say cheeeeese invites the viewer to contemplate what emotional responses are assigned to a colour or a form, for example, to reconsider yellow’s association with happiness, and in so doing, to explore the possibility of myriad expressions that coexist simultaneously.
As part of the commissioning process, Chisenhale Gallery has produced an accompanying publication Rachel Jones: say cheeeeese. This publication marks the inaugural book as part of our new publishing strand, Chisenhale Books. This unique publication, the artist’s first, features works by Jones and a new photo essay by the artist, alongside newly commissioned essays and contributions by poet and artist Anaïs Duplan; Chisenhale Gallery Senior Curator, Ellen Greig; curator and researcher Aïcha Mehrez; and poet, essayist, playwright, and MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine; with a foreword by Chisenhale Gallery Director, Zoé Whitley.
Jones’ exhibition commences Chisenhale Gallery’s Commissions Programme for 2022, which comprises three new exhibitions by artists Rachel Jones, Nikita Gale and Ayo Akingbade, and a new commission by the vacuum cleaner (James Leadbitter), which is produced in collaboration with curator and artist Caroline Moore, and the staff and young inpatients currently resident at The Coborn Centre for Adolescent Mental Health at Newham Centre for Mental Health, London.