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Rachel Gadsden undoubtedly had a spectacular 2008: artist in residence at Hampton Court and Capture artist for the Handover for the Paralympic Game in Stoke Mandeville, she excelled at every turn. 2009 promises to be something quite different - a new way of being in situ with new accessible equipment and time to build a new body of work. The work she has been waiting to paint all her life.

Rachel Gadsden takes us through some of her highlights of 2009

17 January 2010

Blog

drawing of a group of figures moving forward

I was introduced to the work of the Danish painter Per Kirkeby at Tate Modern last April. I went to the exhibition purely on a whim. An image on a publicity poster caught my imagination. I knew nothing about the artist or his work but I was utterly moved by his beautiful poetic landscape paintings. They crept under my skin and I have had the catalogue by my side in my studio since. Last April, as artist in residence for Rose Bruford’s International Theatre Symposium, I had the opportunity...

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Rachel Gadsden chronicles her Ethiopian Olympic weekend experience

17 September 2009

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Rachel Gadsden painting titled Stilt Boys

We had an amazing trip to visit the visit the Southern Omo Valley indigenous tribal groups, in Ethiopia, over the Olympic Open Weekend 2009. It was a powerful experience to spend time with people who live untouched by the Modern World and who rely on instinct as much as anything else to survive. My awareness of fragility and survival due to my life long disability reinforces this observation. Disregarding our obvious differences, while I was amongst the tribal people I experienced an incredible...

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Emerging figures ...

22 June 2009

Blog

painting

I'm very representational some of the time, and a little all of the time. But when you're painting out of your unconscious, figures are bound to emerge - Jackson Pollock The insight that I believe my paintings talk to me might unnerve some, but for me it is a heartening occurrence. Within the isolated studio I find it somehow reassuring to hear the whispers that emerge as I plunge my oil encrusted paint brush onto the surface of the canvas. Any sense of loneliness disappears and as I listen to...

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Inspiration

20 June 2009

Blog

Rachel Gadsden painting

Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top - Virginia Woolf At last I have begun the passage into a measureless terrain where I will allow expressionistic sub conscious inspiration to create a series of new drawings and paintings. I am expecting to consider themes such as bleakness and despair, as well as comedy and hope during my explorations of the human condition but only time will reveal exactly what will emerge. I am filled with...

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Parliamentary Outreach Breaking Barriers Exhibition Opening

16 June 2009

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Rachel Gadsden painting

It was with great excitement that The Breaking Barriers Exhibition Opening took place on the 5th June, a day after the country went to vote. With one of the lowest voter turnouts ever, it was a particularly poignant moment to be playing a role in Parliamentary Outreach “Breaking Barriers” project and exhibition. 'Breaking Barriers' looks at how the stories of local suffragists and suffragettes in Essex can be relevant to modern audiences. The exhibition was developed in partnership...

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The Massacre of the Innocents and Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children: a Play for Gaza

25 May 2009

Blog

Rachel Gadsden drawing

The repose of sleep refreshes only the body…In the morning we must sweep out the shadows - Gaston Bachelard I established that Rubens 'The Massacre of the Innocents' was on loan from the National Gallery to the Art Gallery of Ontario until June 09, and realized therefore that my initial proposal to explore this artwork here in London would have to be more 'imaginative' than I had originally intended! As is often the case, however, when one is required to shift...

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Leading questions

9 March 2009

Blog

image of a semi-figurative painting, mainly in shades of red and maroon

I was lucky recently to have had the opportunity to participate in the Sync 20 leadership programme. I might not be a typical leader in the respect that I don't manage people but I acknowledge that through my artistic practice I can and do have to lead. But this did little to alleviate the trepidation I felt as I embarked on a series of coaching sessions and a workshop. I was apprehensive because I recognised that before I would be able to take a leap, I would have to face my insecurities....

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Transition

1 January 2009

Blog

The Palace experience is fading, just a memory now, and as I meander onwards, I am finally free to explore the many facets of what it is to be human. The journey has in fact already begun; recent artwork is often large scale such that the physical energy and pulse of consciousness as it embarks on its imagined expeditions is captured within the artwork. I have abandoned the geographic landscape and now take the position of armchair traveller where I capture the moment in front of me. The...

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