Rachel Ross: Collector
Rachel Ross is drawn to the ordinary possessions of past generations. Letters, notebooks, ribbons, keys – all represent unknown lives and stories of their own. They speak to us and make a connection through time. Her subjects have become worn through use and handling, whether a pair of shoes, a scratched spoon or a yellowed letter. Some might have been valued while others were barely noticed. Ross’ work is both an appreciation of the objects as they are - their form, colour and patina - and also what they might represent to artist and viewer.
Natural elements appear in her compositions as a reminder of time. A butterfly is a beautiful but ephemeral creature. Life is short.
Draughtsmanship is central to Ross’ work who always works from life. The realism she strives for is important. Understanding her subject by recreating subtle details such as the oxidised scratch in the bowl of a spoon, or the crease in a child’s dress folded and put away long ago.
If Ross’ work belongs to any tradition it is that of the still life. She composes carefully, isolating her subjects in a space or placing them together with consideration. In this way, memories and emotions can be projected onto seemingly mundane objects giving the paintings a heightened weight and meaning.
After graduating from Central St Martins in the 1980s, Ross worked as an illustrator for 20 years then began to paint for herself in 2007. Since 2010, Ross has pursued painting full time and exhibited in many major open exhibitions throughout the UK and Europe. In 2010 she was awarded the Art Exposure Gallery Award at the Royal Glasgow Institute and in 2012 was runner up in the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize. More recently, Ross was short-listed for the W. Gordon Smith Painting Award 2016.