Rachel Jones - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Friday, March 8, 2024 | Phillips

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  • Rachel Jones is unabashed in her approach to form and colour, having likened the experience of viewing her paintings as ‘feeling with your eyes’.i In this sense, her canvases present as spectacles to be consumed as opposed to looked at; an out of body experience waiting to be realised. Yet for all their vibrancy and charm, it is the ambiguity of Jones’ works that elevate them beyond just a delight for the senses.


    “I have always been interested in the potential for colour to be as something which… has an emotional and psychological meaning.”
    —Rachel Jones


    The present example, for instance, occurs initially as a swathe of abstract forms, bleeding with colour. Inspection reveals Jones’s favoured motif of two rows of teeth that appear clenched together, though it is unclear if they are grinning or grimacing. Equally unclear, is the state of the teeth depicted as their jagged construction features teeth that appear blackened, decaying and bleeding. Or perhaps the ruby reds, emerald greens and silver caps are intended to dazzle rather than repulse.


    Just as the formal lines that define the teeth oscillate with gestural strokes, their conceptual lines are similarly blurred. Jones considers teeth for their layers of meaning, conjuring cultural memories of the Atlantic slave trade, when the teeth of the enslaved were inspected to gauge their health and strength. Similarly evoked is the rich tradition of decorative grills donned by iconic figures of fringe artistic scenes such as Hip-Hop and street art.



    i Rachel Jones quoted in Phoebe Cripps, “Rachel Jones, Mixing it Up: Painting Today exh.cat., London, 2021

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2020



oil pastel, oil stick and oil on canvas
65.8 x 97.8 cm (25 7/8 x 38 1/2 in.)
Executed in 2020.

Full Cataloguing

£40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for £127,000

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey
Specialist, Associate Director, Head of Day Sale
+44 7502 428 688


20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 8 March 2024