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Sumi © Rachel Labovitch
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Rachel Labovitch: Skyward

Layers of ink, graphite and watercolour question our perceptions of nature and urban landscapes in this new exhibition by artist Rachel Labovitch, showing at the Garden Museum from 12 February – 31 March 2019.

Walking through a city like London, we sometimes forget to look up and notice the branches and treetops which frame our viewpoint. Rachel Labovitch’s work explores different ways of representing these views, and raises questions about how we absorb those surroundings on the edge of our experience, just in our peripheral vision.

Skyward was inspired by London’s Russell Square, a garden square which was designed by landscape gardener Humphry Repton in the early nineteenth century. The square’s trees are captured in graphite, a medium which is blurred and edited to convey a sense of time passing and the artist’s prolonged engagement with nature, often showing the history of previously made and erased marks.

Labovitch uses watercolour to capture a ‘skyward’ view of the square and the abstract negative spaces formed by a tangle of winter branches. The paintings prompt an upwards reading of the image, mimicking our perspective from below trees.

Large-scale works in sumi, a Japanese ink made from soot, create immersive vistas with careful brushed strokes that guide the eye to and fro across the piece.

Skyward seeks to raise questions about how much we edit our surroundings as we walk through the city. Labovitch questions collective and individual memory, and associations which we project onto ‘natural’ man-made landscapes.

All works are for sale.