Corridor8 Contemporary Visual Art & Writing First Edition
Annual 2010

from: The Flash Artists - 8 Key Artists for Corridor8

pages 24 & 25 Interview with Rachel Goodyear

Eyeliner - detail. Private Collection

Rachel Goodyear
Manchester / Salford

hypnotist - detail

Rachel Goodyear's drawings present captured moments where characters reside within an existence where social etiquette no longer, or maybe never applied.
She looks for unlikely relationships in everything she encounters. From this constant everyday cross-referencing she creates carefully constructed coincidences that are delicate in their nature and unsettling in their content.

Text courtesy of the artist.


Rachel Goodyear graduated in BA(hons) Fine Art at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2000, since which she has been practicing art in Manchester.

She has exhibited regularly in the UK and abroad incuding at The Drawing Room, at Tate Liverpool for The Liverpool Biennial, 2008; The Intertwining Line, The Cornerhouse, Manchester; The Aesthetics of Anxiety, Marc de Puechredon Galllery, Basel; and ARTfutures, Bloomberg Space, London. Her Solo projects include Unable to Stop Because They Were Too Close To The Line, commissioned by LIME (Pennine Arts Trust) and associated projects with vital Arts and The royal London Hospital; Cats, Cold, Hunger and the Hostility of Birds, a bookof drawings published by Aye-Aye Books. In January 2009 Goodyear will present a collection of new works in her solo exhibition, They Never Run, Only Call at International 3, Manchester.

darkness ccming - detail. Private Collection

Q & A

What are you working on currently?

I have just exhibited a new body of work, They Never Run, Only Call, in January 2009 at the International 3, Manchester. It is a culmination or ideas I was working on for moost of the last year stripped down to quite bleak, sometimes playfuland occasionally nightmarish visions. this train of thought is continuing into another collection of mostly unseen drawings for my next exhibition at Houldsworth galley, London which opens in May 2009.
whenever I begin a body of work I have no fixed idea as to what kind of characters or the nature of the thhread will be., but it evolves over a period of time. It's an obsessive process, and it's at times like this that I notice the changes in my work, and it can be quite precarious and intimidating. I have to keep questioning every drawing that I do, but still allow muself to go with the flow and see where it takes me.

Where did you study?

BA (Hons) Fine Art at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Who influenced your early years as a student?

I was quite erratic at art college and over the three years tried different approaches to art making. During my foundation year I was inspired by Frida Kahlo for the colour and passion in her life in the face of adversity. Throughout college I had many books on Louise Bourgeois .... My work was more sculptural and object based at the time, and was inspired by the heavy weight of her environments and the ambitious scale, but also was drawn to the mountainous volume of drawings that lie behind her work. I loved watching interviews with her. She mentioned at one time that she detested going to her own exhibition openings. At the time I felt cripplingly shy and self-concious, and that response made me feel that I was somehow okay.

Have you ever seen, read about or heard of an artwork or art activity that made you think that art could be significant?

At a time when I was finding the confidence that drawing was becoming the focus of my practice and coyly bringing my sketches out of my note-books and into a public space, I remember two occasions that guided me further. In late 2002 a friend had returned from New York and brought back a catalogue from the MOMA exhibition, Drawing Now - Eight Propositions. I was so excited and inspired by what I saw on the pages, and intensely jealous that I couldn't see the actual show myself. Not long after that, another friend brought my attention to The Royal Art Lodge with a catalogue of their Ask the Dust exhibition, also in New York, at The Drawing Centre. The excitement I felt from leafing through these pages of such wonderful drawings certainly played a part in me finding my artistic identity after leaving college. I've closely followed the Royal Art Lodge's work ever since, and recently saw therir exhibition at the Bluecoat for the Liverpool Biennial. They were beautiful, bleak and melancholic with a dark biting wit. Their images are still spinning round my mind.

Do you work on several things at once?

I tend to work on one drawing at a time, but there are always many ideas on the go in sketches and my mind at the same time. If there is an idea I can't quite capture I'll put it to one side, sometimes for a couple of weeks, sometimes a couple of years before returning to it. The environment of my studio is the opposite to my drawings. In contrast to the bleak, delicate and precise nature of my drawings, my studio is a frantic explosion of sketches, cuttings, writing, and ephemera. these are all things that I refer to every day I'm in the studio, so whilst I am focusing on one drawing

there will be a whole load of other ideas and stories I'll be working through in my head, and sideline scribbles. In this way I often think of my work as being one big evolving drawing.

Do you enjoy making art?

I love drawing. It gives me equal pleasure and pain.

How do you deal with titles in your work?

Sometimes the title will simply refer to the protagonists in the picture or to an action I want to draw attention to, for example, Girl and Dog, or Hypnotist, At the same time, I collect phrases or collections of words lifted out of cuttings or conversations that lie around in notepads until an image arises that I feel marries up to it well. Examples of these are, Unable to Stop Because They Were Too Close to the Line and The Birds Betrayed. I guess my approach to titles is to not give too much away, or be as non-prescriptive as possible, or to add an extra bit of poetic ambiguity to suggest a whole other part to the story off the page. I like to invite the viewer in to create their own narratives and build on the image they see in front of them in their own individual way, and titles can play such a huge part in this.

Where do you live / work?

I live and work in Manchester and Salford.

Why do you stay here?

I grew up just outside Manchester, but apart from my northern roots, I found Manchester was, from the outset, and still remains, a place where I want to practice art. There are very few alternative places I see myself living. When I first moved here I was very awkward and shy, but as I got involved in artist-run activity through volunteering and collaborative projects, I found it to be a really supportive city to work in. The city offered a 'give it a go' attitude and I found it a great place to experiment and find my identity. I still feel it is a city I get a lot of support from and I still continue to enjoy living and making art here, and the music scene still throws up amazing things. I still feel I'm discovering new things and new people within the city. It's totally possible to be based and work in this city and operate on a national and international network.

What curators and galleries do you admire? Who are the biggest contributors to the art scene in the region?

For starters, International 3, in Manchester, and Pippy Houldsworth in London. They both represent me and have given me so much support. The Drawing Room in London, because they are dedicated to championing and exploring drawing as a practice in its widest sense and deliver inspiring exhibitions. Café Royal, a magazine and project run by Craig and Jo Atkinson, based in Liverpool, bringing together drawing through many different genres. Apartment, in Manchester, run by artists Paul Harfleet and Hilary jack - right from the start they've presented great shows and interventions by local and international artists, and have a fantastic and supportive approach to curating, both from the gallery-in-domestic-space to offsite international collaborations.

I'd also like to champion my favourite place that can't just be classed just as a person, a gallery, a space or collective, but encompasses the whole lot. The Islington Mill, in Salford. It has always been a creative hub and has seen many changes through the years. It is owned by, and has been the vision of, Bill Campbell, and has played a huge part in my life right from the week I moved here years ago. Under the umbrella of The Islington Mill Arts Club it encopmpasses studios with a glorious spectrum of creative practitioners - Bureau Gallery, The Islington Mill Arts Academy, events spaces and many on and off site collective projects. I've seen it evolve over the years, and the attitude of 'can do' on

the smallest or most ambitious of projects has been such an inspiration. Its eclectic mix brings together equally varied groups of people, and it's the kind of place you can see exhibitions of local and international artists, followed by film screenings, gigs from local talents such as Warm Widow and Lone Lady, exclusive performances by the Ting tings and Acid Mother's Temple, spectacular visuals by photographer Andrew Brooks, jazz performance on a grand piano accompanied by the BBc Philhamonic orchestra .... the list is endless.

What are your plans for the future? If you had unlimited funds, what artwork would you make?

The notion of unlimited funds overwhems me! If I could buy unlimited time with those funds that's what I'd do. I'm terrible at planning for the future as you never know what life throws at you, and with this your work can automatically change.My plans for the future are carrying on, seeing where it takes me and continuing to look for new inspiration.

If you could own any work of art, what would it be?

I've had a picture of Goya's Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga following me around for as long as I can remember. The well-known hauntingly-still image of the boy in a red suit with a magpie on a string with cats looking on from the shadows. I would happily settle for travel tickets to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts to spend time with it.

I could also live in a Yayoi Kusama installation, and would love to live with anything by Amy Cutler, Peter Doig, Jockum Nordström or Raymond Pettibon to name a few.

If you weren't an artist what would you be doing?

I have often thought it would be amazing to to be an entomologist. However, that would be a non-starter. I'm fascinated by all that creeps in the undergrowth, but I've always had a deep-rooted terror of spiders.

Advice to new graduates?

Don't stop. Form a collective. Form a band. Exhibit in your house/shed/car/wherever.

return to Rachel Goodyear Press Page