“Painting is a speculative business. Like a gambler you come to the table with your set of “chips” – your ideas and concepts. The game involves risk-taking and the active provocation of chance; images are eventually brokered through the painting process and the substance of paint, with all its unpredictable characteristics. You could say that a painting only really lives by lucky chance.”
The British-born artist paints primarily large-format figurative paintings with intensely atmospheric pictorial spaces. Lumsden’s imagery coalesces on the canvas through a virtuoso handling of paint, evoking visual narratives which come unexpectedly close and yet cannot be entirely grasped.
Her painterly contemporaneity is anything but placative: The ghosting hour in an abandoned car park in “Midnight Folk”; the casually unhoused and roaming figures of “Underwater Cocktail Party“ shift the gaze to touch on themes that usually hover at the edge of public perception.
The Newcastle-upon-Tyne born artist, who has duel Swiss-British nationality, studied at Nottingham Trent University and the Royal Academy Schools in London. She taught painting at the University of Lucerne for Art and Design from 2007 to 2019. Her studio practice is based mainly in Arbon, where she works both on her own painting practice as well as on public art projects for new architecture. The most recent of these is for a new school building in Thurgau, designed by the Portuguese architects BAK Gordon, Lissabon.
Lumsden’s most recent exhibitions include the current solo exhibition at the Haus der Kunst in Solothurn (CH 2019), in Kunst(Zeug)Haus Rapperswil (CH, 2018-19), Galerie Bernard Jordan Paris (F, 2018), Kunstverein Konstanz (D, 2018 ), Kunsthaus Center d’art Pasquart Biel / Bienne (CH, 2017) and the Fondation Fernet-Branca, St. Louis (F, 2017).
She has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, among them the the Pollock-Krasner Award (USA 2001), the International Art Prize Vorarlberg (2011), awards from the canton of St.Gallen (2014) and the canton of Thurgau (2016). In 2018 she was awarded the Konstanzer Kunstpreis in Germany and a production grant by Pro Helvetia, the Arts Council of Switzerland for the project “Here and now”.
Publications include Rachel Lumsden, “Return of the Huntress” (2017) from Verlag für Moderne Kunst, Vienna with Essays from Charlotte Mullins, Felicity Lunn and André Rogger, and “Drunk in charge of a bicycle” (2013) from Schwabe (CH) with essays from Robert Guy Wilson and Axel Jablonski.