Rachel Goodyear

Hypnotist (Red Bird)

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Year 2020
Medium Pencil and watercolour on paper
Dimensions 29.9 x 21 cm

About the work

In a frozen moment, a red bird hovers over a woman as she bends backwards. The title suggesting the repetitive beat of its wings has its counterpart in a trance, as she arches over into a position reminiscent of depictions of female hysteria. Yet, far form a scene of anguish, her uncomfortable position seems controlled, her stance determined. The bird following the curve of her chest could suggest a dance or deliberate action; and the colour of its plumage matching her clothing could suggest this bird could be of her rather than other to her.

About the artist:

Born 1978 Oldham, Rachel Goodyear lives and works in Manchester and Salford. Graduated from BA Fine Art Leeds Metropolitan University (2000).

Throughout her practice Goodyear presents timeless, uncanny scenes which toe the line between beauty and terror. Recurring motifs appear both strange and familiar, a contemporary play on the traditions of twentieth Century Surrealism and psychoanalysis. She often describes her images as ‘fragments’, like fleeting thoughts or visions that fluctuate between the real and the imagined. Working predominantly with pencil on paper, Goodyear treats the surface as a threshold, like a permeable membrane, through which the imagined space can slip off the page into hand-drawn animations, cut-outs and installation.

Selected solo exhibitions include Limina, York Mediale and York Museums Trust Human Nature commission, York Art Gallery (2020); Catching Sight, The New Art Gallery, Walsall (2017); Approaching the Surface, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London (2016); Restless Guests, The Drawing Center, New York (2015); and Modifications of the Host, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (2011). Selected group exhibitions include The Way We Are 2.0, Weserburg Museum of Modern Art, Bremen (2020); A Trick of the Light, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool (2019); The Innsbruck International Biennale of the Arts (2016); Telling Tales, The Freud Museum, London (2016); The Curitiba Biennale, Brazil (2013); Drawing Stories, Museum Folkwang, Essen (2012); and Made Up, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Biennial (2008)

Residencies include The Banff Centre, Alberta (2010).


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