Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf is a London based artist who grew up in Germany and the UK. Her work predominantly focuses on painting and portraiture, exploring themes surrounding female identity and mortality. She studied Fine Art at The Surrey Institute of Art & Design (200-04) and was awarded the Chelsea Arts Club Trust Award Grant to complete her MFA at Wimbledon College of Arts (2013-15). Rebecca was featured as one of the winners of the BBC art program ‘show me the Monet’ in 2011 and recently went on to become a Vice President of the Society of Women Artists where she is on the judging panel for their annual open exhibition at the Mall Galleries as well as co-curating the exhibition. The recipient of several awards, she has exhibited widely in solo, curated and juried shows at venues such as the Mall Galleries, the V&A and the RCA. Her work can be found in both public and private collections.
Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf on Portraiture
In all honesty, I think discovering exactly what they are about is a journey I will be on for the duration of my painting practice. In a general sense, the female form acts as a primary bearer of meaning in my work; a vehicle through which to explore themes of identity and mortality within the framework of figurative painting. Making art to me is a little like dreaming. It comes from a place which you can’t quite put into words adequately, and as soon as you think you’ve fully pinned its meaning down it begins to shift and evade you again. It reveals itself to you through the process of painting or viewing a piece, and these meanings aren’t static but changing. The same painting can seem quite different to me from one day to the next.
My basic materials consist of oils, inks, acrylics, pastels on linen canvas, but I really enjoy experimenting with new materials and media and seeing how they interact with each other. Over the years I’ve experimented with resins and crystals such as salt and alum, as well as working on different supports such as wood, perspex and chiffon.
Painting really is my primary form of expression. I don’t tend to make preliminary sketches, but instead, I go straight in with the paint. I feel drawn to all kinds of different forms of a painting: from very geometric, clean works; to loose, textured, expressionistic painting; to the very delicate, figurative work of the old masters or the Pre-Raphaelites for example. There is so much that one can achieve with this medium, and I think this constant pull between these opposing styles is something which comes through in my work.
Artist Statement: Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf
As I have grown up and my practice has evolved, the theme of death and mortality has moved ever closer to the foreground, and the tradition of vanitas paintings has largely informed my work. The young woman becomes a symbol for the fleeting nature of human life as well as creative fertility and potential. Youth and beauty allude to their natural counterpart of death and decay.
Organic Development of her Art
The Artist’s themes have developed organically, and her process of painting is a very intuitive one. It is through the act of painting itself that many of the themes and meanings reveal themselves and it is in this way that she realised that the themes of creation and death, so closely related to female identity through myth and history are directly reflected in my creative process. Just as the young woman holds both forces of life and death within herself symbolically, these oscillating opposites of activity and passivity, chaos and control, are a vital component in the act of making art. Whilst painting, she says she is often aware that as much as she may have to consciously manifest a mark or an image, she also has to surrender to and accept moments of chaos, allowing ideas or images to be destroyed in order for something new to be born.
“For me, the question of meaning always emerges as an essential part of this cycle of life, death and creation, in which the experience of our own mortality and the transient nature of life play a vital role in the search for meaning and identity, and almost always provide the fuel for the desire to create” says Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf
In Rebecca Fontaine-Wolfs work she aims to continue exploring these ideas, revealing and stumbling across new layers of meaning, whilst honing her technical skills, experimenting and evolving the work. In the end, however, her ambition in creating paintings is not necessarily to coax the viewer into thinking about any of the themes and ideas which pervade her consciousness but to stir something within the viewer, to provoke feeling.
Average Art Magazine