Rachel Duckhouse: Rhythm in Research

Edinburgh Printmakers: Until March 26th

The exhibition Rhythm in Research of Rachel Duckhouse’s art, is an innovative new exhibition which uniquely explores the physical process of creating prints within research. The amount of preparation for the work seen in the exhibition is clear in its eventual execution which is entirely complex and intricate in its varied interpretation of depth, texture and layering.

One of the most interesting aspects of the exhibition is that the artist, prior to her first research-based project, created eclectic work in which she created her own imagined structures that were obedient to particular rules and floated in space independent of gravity. This demonstrates an important part of the exhibition; that such a great deal of thought has gone into the logistic and engineering of each particular piece, or set of pieces. The artist creates sets of rules that relate to use of lines, points, repetition and composition, and then the hypothetical shape or object is tested in being drawn out against the dynamics of its own rules.

The motivation of the artist to explore the rules, dynamics and patterns that control the universe which we inhabit is illustrated in the work; an idea is posed, rules are created and then these are explored from different angles. Fascinatingly, Duckhouse makes room for the fact that there were often infinite answers to one question through her images in series, implying that there might be one definitive answer to the question posed.

There is great variety seen in the work presented in the exhibition, and as a result the exhibition can come across as somewhat abstract and ambiguous. In many of the works, the shading and depth is created through the sheer concentration of fine lines. Often curves and intricately rounded areas are seen in the shape through this seemingly simple technique of repeated fine lines in black. In one of the series, some of the shapes are even reminiscent of dot-to-dot, with small numbers situated at the end of or between some of the lines. This is unusual as it indulges in a sense of planning, or being in the middle of an unfinished project.

The exhibition as a whole is highly unusual, and demonstrative of a depth of thought that approaches the art from a different angle than many other artists and exhibitions. Holistically, the exhibition may be accused of being somewhat incohesive, and the sense of a link or flow through the exhibition may be somewhat absent. However, it is an exhibition that reveals unexpected, concealed patterns in different contexts and is highly thought-provoking in its sense of conceptuality and abstractness.  

Image: Rachel Duckhouse

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