Rachel Howard – Untitled (Inside Out)

“I went to a Quaker school and it had such a powerful effect on my life that I’ve carried it with me ever since. I’m an atheist now but Quakerism was the first time as a child I came across a religious structure that made some sense … the silence, contemplation, the acknowledgement of our responsibilities not just to each other but also to nature, they are pacifists.”

– Rachel Howard

Having graduated from Goldsmiths College in London in 1991, Rachel Howard started working just as the Young British Artists began to be noticed. She was in fact responsible for some of the most iconic YBA works ever made – as Damien Hirst’s first assistant and best spot painter, Rachel Howard produced many of the famous early spot paintings. Yet her association with Hirst also overshadowed her own practice, as she is often better known as his assistant than for her own work.

Untitled (Inside Out Series), 2002
signed on the reverse of the mount; signed and dated 2002 on the backing board
c-print, in artist’s frame
image: 30.5 by 20 cm.   frame: 51.8 by 41.6 cm.

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As Howard’s own career matured, she worked on very different kinds of paintings, though the religious tone that also underlies much of Hirst’s work is a recurring theme. The large-scale abstract paintings that she is now best known for, often reveal the subtle motif of the cross which also appears in Untitled from the Inside Out series. Here, the cross is actually a detail from a window in a farm in the south of France, cropped to create a mysterious abstract yet symbolically-loaded composition. 

The present work was previously owned by Frank and Lorna Dunphy, Damien Hirst’s first managers. Other works are owned by prestigious private collectors such as David Roberts in London, David Teiger in the US, George Michael and Kenny Goss in the US, and the Murderme Collection (Damien Hirst’s collection) in London.